Do people get the leaders they deserve? Does a joke country need a joke leadership? I lean towards not believing that. I like to believe that circumstances beyond the control of people often times lead to bad/joke leaders running a country.

There are times, however, when I do succumb to the belief that yes, people get what they deserve especially in terms of leadership, and that a joke country will naturally be run by a joke government and governing class.

Recent events have really forced me to sit down and ponder, do people really get the government that they deserve and how much of a joke country are we?

I have been having these thoughts ever since news broke that Ruel Reid was fired after corruption allegations surrounding his ministry came to light. Do we as a nation deserve these leaders; do we not deserve better? Again, I lean towards yes but think no when this scenario comes to life because damn near everyone seems to be ok with simply the minister resigning.

True, it is always good to see action, but we have seen this movie before, with the same main character (the PM). Does anyone remember Mike Henry being forced to resign amid allegations of corruption, and isn’t he currently a minister? Does anyone remember the cars (or lack thereof) that the police got? Does anyone remember the hospital? Have we all forgotten about what was (and currently is) going on at Petrojam?

Rather than demand accountability we seem to be ok with letting Reid be the fall guy as no one else in the Government or education ministry has resigned.

Reid, as a simple senator who was appointed, can take this for the team, and we as a nation seem ok with this third-rate political manoeuvering. Are we to be fooled and placated simply because he is no longer the caretaker?.

To make one think that we really do deserve what we get, we have persons who are hailing the opposition leader as some sort of genius, some sort of truffle hound who can sniff out corruption anywhere, while forgetting that the party he leads and MPs who will become ministers are still dealing with massive corruption allegations. The party which nowadays seems to be championing anti-corruption, persons forget, still has historical (read Trafigura) and more current (read the China donation scandal as well as the councillor and his secretary in St James) scandals to address and skeletons to own up to. Rather than call them out for the opportunists that they are we instead have articles and of support for them.

This should really be an eye opener to any and all who believe that our politicians have the fight against corruption at the top of their agenda. Instead we have persons falling hook line and sinker, swallowing the obvious bait of political talking points.

Do we get the leaders we deserve? At a time like this, the polls clearly indicate yes. Neither candidate during the most recent by-election made mention of corruption and how to tackle it, and the media, blinded by the glitz, failed to grill either of the two even as both their parties still reel from corruption allegations.

Those actions should not be enough and we, though beaten down and depressed, deserve much better leadership. We yearn for it, we long for it in such a way that we rejoice when a person half-acts and pretend that our leaders have somehow learned a lesson. That desperation and lusting for justice have made us accepting of half justice and accountability and in that regard, I am afraid that yes, we at the moment do have the leaders we deserve.

It is clear to all, and has been written about endlessly, that the rot spans both parties, is festering in the civil service and has eaten away at large parts of the private sector. It is obvious to anyone who cares to ask that the people are far from pleased that this continues (especially as they see prices of daily necessities rise). It is also clear to see, by the most recent general elections and by-elections, that the people — though trapped between two parties — are more and more voting on the issues and how they are affected. The number of people who are voting based on family tradition is dwindling.

For too long we have settled for mediocrity, rampant corruption, lame excuses and straight up disrespect. It must end and not in the usual manner of people simply moving on quietly. This administration was voted in on promises of doing things differently, being a new form of government, restoring the people’s faith. Let us help them by demanding not just resignations (which are nice) and partial audits (also nice), but by expelling from the party those who have done wrong (including the previous bad actors mentioned) and take the hit politically.

Same goes for Phillips who is running on a hodgepodge platform also consisting of renewal and restoration of faith. Fire and move on those accused or suspected; call the police and take the political hit which means taking on party establishments.

Act, show us that we do indeed deserve these two parties as they offer hope. Show us that the people are not fools for trusting you lot and call out the corruption and criminality within your houses. Show the uptown masses, who stay home on election day, that they are indeed the fools because things change like a summer rain.

Show us that we are wrong, both the apathetic voter hoping against hope that you keep promises, and the equally apathetic non-voter who stays home or you may very well be proven wrong in thinking that apathy lasts forever. Apathy, much like the calm, comes before the storm and if both parties have any sense they will understand that something nasty is brewing and will be working damn hard to ensure that the people of Jamaica get the government they deserve. They may very well get what they deserve if they don’t.





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