Our island home is overwhelmed by criminal activities. Too many of us – our children, our men, our women at every level of society, but especially among the less fortunate are either perpetrators or victims of this scourge that is sweeping the country.
There is not enough love, nor patience, nor sympathy, nor consideration for others. Instead, there is anger, hate, revenge, greed, envy, and corruption.
Harmful actions and attitudes are ingrained in the minds of too many of us. The general decline in morals and values in society, the harmful circumstances in which children are grown, and other negative influences are all contributors.
Due to societal influences, some young people have adopted a value system in which the importance of material possessions has surpassed the value of human lives in society.
Citizens both young and old glorify the brand name culture, ascribe to material possessions, and wail and whine to lyrics that encourage criminality and loose sexuality. Little respect is shown to others, even in places of worship, schools, and hospitals.
A new beginning is needed. A catalyst to start the healing of our nation must be found and used to implement the changes so urgently needed.
Who is ready to step up to the plate?
We need to rebuild family life, emphasize and encourage the culture of respect for everyone, respect for the law, and respect for our environment. This all starts with training in values and attitudes.
These disturbing negative behaviours encouraged a former Prime Minister to introduce the Values and Attitudes campaign in 2003. This proposal was not well received. The current situation requires that we, as a country, revisit this proposal, and agree that it should not be politicised. We need to develop a value system that does not focus on material possessions but rather on developing caring relationships among all Jamaicans. Political, private sector, religious and civil society leaders and indeed all Jamaicans should embrace this concept as being the best way of ensuring that we correct, our negative behaviours.
If we are to live in peace and harmony, all of us need to deliberately embrace positive social, spiritual, economic and caring values, and show by example that we are committed to them.
Our Youth and Children, Our Parents
Emphasis should be placed on our youth and children in order to improve our beloved island home. They need to be assisted and guided to develop into citizens who can contribute meaningfully to a new Jamaica. Education, as meaningful as it is, needs to focus not only on academics but also on character development.
Where we can assist students to improve their behaviour, their morals, their education, and their relationship with our Heavenly Father, the majority of them can become positive contributors in society.
Parents have a critical role to play. They have to be encouraged to realise that their role in this development process is essential.
To have a new Jamaica, we have to address these deficiencies and the best and only place to start is with our people – our leaders, our parents, our children.
We must lift ourselves to the realm of loving and caring for each other in powerful and meaningful ways.