What a year 2019 has been; what a month December has been; and what a possibility 2020 can be. It requires retrospection, current actions, and future urgent change in order to fulfil the promises and potential.

The past year has seen many areas of success and several failures. In macroeconomics there have been the usual talks about reducing debt, stabilizing the dollar, and the predictable outcomes of falling productivity and increased imports. Well, these are not new, so having lived it for so long we cannot be ignorant of the root causes of the recurrent symptoms. We have to come to a decision on what we want as our basic banking platform and stop changing rules arbitrarily and establish a level playing of regulations. So either we should administer totally new medications, or perhaps we will have to opt for radical surgery.

Crime and its growing randomness is driving fear through the entire population and is no respecter of rich or poor; black, brown or white; government officials or ordinary citizens. No more dominoes in the open air; no congregation at dances and house parties; no more safe walks from choir practice or services at night; no parking of cars in safety whilst shopping; and the list goes on. This, too, is a repeat of previous times (admittedly now more severe). So we should be able to tackle this by changing our tactics.

One thing is certain, and that is people who were formerly afraid or reluctant to speak out are doing so now. The voices of objection are getting younger, and a new demand for performance from our elected officials is growing rapidly. This is a reason for hope as Parliamentarians who were reluctant to “buck the system” must realize that major change will not be punished but rather rewarded, and old and young dinosaurs will become extinct.

So a potential positive for 2020 is that change is a requirement and not a risk as far as governance is concerned.

December saw a greatly increased activity in the love and goodness that have been a hallmark of Jamaica over the decades. It has been inspiring for me to witness the activities of the younger generations sharing talents, gifts, and love, with the elderly and shut-ins; children; the homeless; the mentally and physically challenged.

After I thought that the baton of caring would never be passed, I am happy, in fact overjoyed, that the good spirit of Jamaica has been adopted by our young people before we the weary generation dropped the baton through sheer exhaustion.

December saw my car window smashed and important documents stolen in Cherry Gardens (Wednesday). The next morning I received a call from a lady who kindly looked up my number and informed me that some had been thrown outside her home. I collected them and thanked her as they contained my health insurance card.

Although the requested police control did not show up, on the Thursday the police 119 called me to ensure that I was alright and apologized for the unavailability of the patrol due to other crime scenes. I went to Constant Spring Police Station where I was treated in a very courteous and professional manner, my statement was taken, and my receipt was issued, all utilizing a computerized system. On Sunday evening ALL my documents were delivered to my home as they had been brought in to the station.

What does this say to me? Firstly there are great men and women in the JCF who are well educated and who wish to serve. Secondly, those persons are will to adapt to change and go beyond the old “squaddie” mentality. Thirdly, they are competent in both Jamaican and English without having prior education in the former. It is a base to build on and to chart a new strategic direction for 2020.

Thank you, all people of goodwill who came to my assistance in my time of need. Also, to the persons who broke my window and took the money, please spend it on your children and family, and Merry Christmas to you as well.

So as we approach the end of the year I would like to use a medical analogy to conclude and move forward. We have done the required blood tests, MRIs, CT Scans, Ultrasound, and X-Rays and are able to diagnose the malady. We have assembled a competent team, the OR is in working order, and the ICU beds are available, so it is time to move decisively. No referral to the clinic in three months’ time, and no “doctors” on long leave or sabbaticals.

Marvin Gaye sang “Let’s get it on” and we could read this as a subliminal message to all of us. 2020 requires more than “beating around the bush”, “if you believe in love, let’s get it on”. That means disciples Andrew and Peter even in a possible election year.

Peace and love to you all, and prosperity and safety for 2020.

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