Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
- Daniel 2:30-34
Jamaica is a land of facades and deception. We are a people steeped in the culture of anancy with his trickster attitude, and coupled with our British colonization, we are also steeped in avoiding the issue and downplaying the severity of the situation.
At the best of times this is a risky combination, and at the worst of times a deadly cocktail.
This unholy mixture is seen in Jamaica’s flirtation with western powers to act as the Trojan horse letting them back into Haiti, and the recent article by the Financial Times which hailed the mini miracle that is the Jamaican economy.
The article highlighted that Jamaica managed, against all the odds, to reduce its debt to GDP ratio from over 100 per cent to the mid-80s where it stands today, and lavished hedged, if still glowing praise, on the Government and Opposition who enacted the policies that got this result.
In the Haitian escapade, we see a Prime Minister and bankrupt opposition kowtowing to imperialism in a vain attempt to divert attention from the crime situation at home. There is no way on earth CARICOM forces by themselves can take out the well-armed and battle hardened gangs in Haiti. The Jamaica Defence Force couldn’t successfully carry out operations in Tivoli without the key assistance of the US in terms of electronic and real time intelligence with intercepted calls and a plane, how then will they, along with Barbados, Antigua, Trinidad, and the other CARICOM members, tackle these well-armed and wealthy gangs who, according to reports, are connected to influential people in Haiti?
It is strange that a country which can’t even keep order in areas where the army is present intends to intervene in another country’s ongoing deterioration; it is even stranger that we go along as a Trojan horse for the continued decimation of the country we owe an eternal debt to.
Jamaica is not in a healthy place. This is evident to anyone who is willing to take a step away from the state propaganda which tells us that everything is okay with Jamaica being on the way to becoming the place to work, live, and raise a family as espoused by Vision 2030.
The country is experiencing low unemployment, but the people can scarcely afford a loaf of bread. Houses go up and people can’t afford them, increases in water, electricity and gas prices stalk people to the point of insanity.
The golden icon which is being paraded about has feet of clay and at any moment can expect a crash.
Clay feet are common in this land and are not hard to find. The economy, a repeat in many ways of the 60s, has seen workers dealt a poor hand, and the much-heralded democracy which we state is healthier than the US and its pantomime, has been postponed as the Government seeks to delay local government elections.
The country was and remains a tinderbox ready to go off at any time, yet the facade speaks of successes in the various fields that matter to the people who check the boxes. Environmentalism is spoken of in the same breath as oil and gas extraction, protecting against the effects of climate change while also destroying mangrove forests.
The idol cannot and will not last forever and it may not even last that much longer.
The Government and Opposition which lovingly dragged us into this situation, who prance about as if we live in some paradise will eventually realise that what they stand on will crumble in an instant.
The economy will implode when the next major event happens, how bad the damage will be is another question; murders will continue unabated, and the people will continue to turn away from formal democracy as they become further disenchanted with politicians who don’t represent them.
Until that day though, let us all marvel at the idol, shiny and big, very awe-inspiring. However, as we do that let us remember the feet of clay and stand far enough away that we don’t get crushed by the debris when it eventually collapses.