I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of the late Rt. Rev. Dr. Alfred Reid a former Lord Bishop of Jamaica and a friend for over 30 years. He was the thinking and inquisitive clergyman who was never afraid to go deeper in the Scriptures so as to ensure that important information in the Bible was understood and not merely repeated by rote.
He will be sadly missed as a church leader, a man and brother who had such a wit, a really hearty laugh with friends, and a positive outlook for Jamaica. We will all hold him in our hearts.
As we draw closer to the end of 2019, we should recognize that we are only 10 years from our dream of a better country by 2030. We seem to have missed the boat in many important areas that should have been markers of progress towards the 2030 goals. Let us take a realistic view of a few of these:
- Relative macroeconomic stability alone has not produced the resultant growth that is required for societal improvements.
- The microeconomic performance by the private sector in producing real hard currency profits has been very anaemic.
- The Stock Exchange has been a facilitator of new investment capital and new listings. However, I urge caution and analysis as to the sustainability of the new offerings within the regulations of the strict management rules that govern publicly listed companies. Is it really new investments in long term innovative ventures, or family-owned businesses cashing out?
- We still are intent on investing in non-productive assets such as luxury vehicles, boats, helicopters and planes, while factories have not been re-tooled so as to be competitive.
- 5 in 4 is not yet happening, and if our 2030 Vision is to succeed, we need to grow much faster than other nations just to close the gap significantly.
- The first five items have a major impact on our ability to attain balanced growth and a generally wealthier society.
- On the social side, 2019 has been a year that has severely compromised moral authority, and governance.
- Crime is not abating fast enough to restore a public feeling of confidence in law and order, and as a result the urge to migrate and cause a brain-drain is happening again like the 1970s simply for self-preservation.
- Corruption in government operations has been highlighted in this year — Petrojam, CMU; numerous contracts for bushing, motor vehicles, road construction, and numerous others not yet revealed — continues to erode confidence and stimulate other lapses in honesty and integrity.
10.The attempt to extend the embargo on Cabinet documents to 70 years has only served to allow motives of conspiracy to rise to the surface.
Now, let me say that all the points mentioned are able to be fixed, improved, and some eliminated, however they do require deeper analysis; a think tank of honest persons; the release of relevant and timely data on which to make decisions; and cooperation from those who can implement those changes.
There is no space for “I wish to be independently wealthy at the expense of everyone else” type of mentality. Ten more years of a repeat of the 2019 performance indicators will certainly allow us to reach the destination suggested by President Donald Trump as a butthole country.
Next year will probably be an election year. It is time for the people to express new performance standards for the two major political parties, and the newly registered one. Politicians, I urge you to take note of the growing worldwide tendencies that go back to peaceful protests, and some not so peaceful protests.
Let Christmas be a time for reflection, introspection, and a decision to embrace the integrity and honesty that alone will absolve past deeds, and pave the way for the honest governance that has escaped us thus far.