History does repeat itself, albeit in seemingly new iterations for those who choose to avoid the study of past events.

The circumstances of prior actions are sometimes seemingly tedious in their playing out (or time of festering) due to the slow speed of communications in past times. Today, years of discontent manifest themselves in minutes rather than years with the current speed of video, online news, social media, voice communication, and television. But as quickly as they turn up they are forgotten in the barrage of more information about competing events, and the original is soon erased.

Such is the nature of societal unrest today, and it is little wonder that the brief interludes in the spotlight are insufficient to spark real change. Change does require some insistence and a dogged pursuit that seem to be boring for modern generations to sustain. Such examples of unrest are: economic; social; racist; conquest; exploitation; ecological; exploitation; and many times a combination of some or all of the previous examples.

The oil industry in Saudi Arabia has been damaged (and may continue to be damaged) by drone attacks originating from as yet unidentified locations. In another month oil and gas prices will be seriously affected, and we will face new inflation from those actions. I expect that the attacks will continue. Such was the case in World War 2 when air and submarine warfare was targeting fuel, food, and personnel replenishment and those strategies were pursued by Japan, Germany, and the Allied Forces.

In Venezuela, the political situation, currently very far from resolution, has produced millions of refugees; malnourished; medically neglected; and desperate citizens in South America. It has also devastated access to the largest oil resources in the region and the world.

In Hong Kong there have been consistent protests directed against the governance regime and policies that have been going on for over 3 months, with no signs of a resolution. Please note that this is one of the world’s major financial, and logistics markets, and if unresolved, it will require the mass relocation of resources at great costs. I applaud the citizens for their ability to focus for an extended timeframe in pursuit of their goals.  

In Brazil, the quest for ecological changes leading to the development of their massive equatorial for short-term gains has contributed in some ways to the devastating destruction by fire at the heart of 20% of the oxygen production and carbon dioxide sequestration of the world. It is the equivalent of a potential worldwide pneumonia.

In Kenya, deforestation is affecting the harmony of ancient bee habitats, threatening the production of honey by the traditional ways of generations of tribal survival, and people are protesting. The potential of this industry is massive and is done on land not really suited for other agriculture.

The weather disasters have impacted certain parts of The Bahamas, and in 5 days, once prosperous places (built by hard work and ingenuity), have been reduced to the rubble reminiscent of a bombing attack.

The Roman Catholic Church in Jamaica has been the solitary voice offering to assist with students who are being challenged by these circumstances as it affects Caribbean examination requirements. Where are the other hundreds of denominations with tax-free assets and revenues in all of this?

 The humanitarian efforts are admirable, but reconstruction, and long-term funding of reconstruction, will be more difficult in a country with a no or low income tax regime. However when compared to Germany and Japan after the First and Second World Wars, rebuilding from scratch need not try to replicate an old and outdated relict of the past. I would therefore expect that educational institutions are rebuilt as state-of-the-art or even futuristic models that will propagate more thinkers, scientists, mathematicians, computer designers and programmers, and all internationally desired professionals than were previously attempted.

The large international holdings of funds in The Bahamas are entirely fungible, and their ability to migrate is at Internet speed. These large sums are not owned in The Bahamas, but rather by international or anonymous people/corporations who will be equally happy in Zurich, Bermuda, Panama, and the Isle of Man. Thus the secondary loss to The Bahamas may be the new lower levels of lawyers and bankers re-employed in the off-shore industries.

If the re-building of Andros and Grand Bahama is treated like Haiti (only promises), then their recovery time will be severely impaired or even totally lost. We are speaking of many billions of US dollars for a successful recovery. The USA and Britain may not respond, (or may be unwilling to do so), based on their own governance problems.

Spain has had its own setbacks with flooding, and as major investors in Caribbean tourism may have to reassess their concentrated risk strategy. This leaves Bahamian reconstruction in the hands of China, and could leave the Chinese in an entrenched position on the doorstep of the USA’s Florida hotel and cruise shipping’s mecca.

Here in Jamaica, the initiative of our most renowned investigative journalist and commentator Cliff Hughes, and the coverage and challenge to illegal, unruly, and dangerous behaviour that accompany public transportation, have gone viral. But for how long can the digital millennia focus in order to bring about a peaceful change?

I suggest that “citizens on patrol” arm themselves with their cell cameras, and take pictures of this unruly behaviour and do so in such numbers that vastly intimidate the obnoxious drivers. In doing so, they will have nothing to fear, and will make a greater contribution than continuing to post what they ate for dinner or breakfast today. That would be a first step to empowerment!

I suggest that the Government support those measures by putting a large number of police and surveillance cameras in Papine; UHWI gate; Half-Way-Tree; Cross Roads; Spanish Town; May Pen; Mandeville; Savanna-la-Mar; and Negril, immediately. If successful they could move on to include Port Maria; Ocho Rios; Montego Bay; and Lucea. They need to change regulations and fines in order to be a real repellant, and show strong support of a responsive majority of citizens.

These actions would not be vastly different to what happens in more peaceful and orderly societies. It is not even radical in its ideation. It is merely a first step that if taken, can reinforce the concept that good can overcome evil.

Protests cannot only be seen as a challenge to authority. They must also be seen as a challenge for authority to embrace new and innovative ideas that will keep us on the best possible path to progress. It is a peaceful alternative to war, so embrace it.

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