In Jamaican folklore we have been told by Granny that “bad luck always comes in threes”, and even though some may doubt this, recent events may be seen as some kind of portent of impending danger. In these scenarios of somewhat measurable probabilities there is a strong possibility of three variables coinciding, so this is one reason for actuarial calculations.
So in early June I wrote about the need for reassessment of variables in elements of disaster likelihood, and the outcomes of coincidental challenges occurring in the same timeframe. In much the same way that insurance policies that must name specific risks are the norm, then I contend that man-made events now warrant increasing attention.
In addition to the normal risks of fire, flood, hurricanes, earthquakes, motor vehicle accidents, accidental death, industrial malfunctions, there are still some emerging events that have not been listed on many client contracts. Basically these are the ones impacted by location and other conditions within the compass of other nearby operations. These are man-made hazards in that they are created by humans but their negative impact is felt in a wider area than their own.
These are risks that people research in like manner to predicting ten winners on a single day at Caymanas Park. Examples include the risk of a gasoline storage and delivery facility right next to a fireworks factory. Regulators of land use, developments, and factories fall within the ambit of safety that should be carefully exercised. A recent example of a condominium collapse in Florida is a warning of a lack of due diligence in specific areas.
A second set of perils go beyond the previous asset and safety previously mentioned, and are man-made and continue to emerge every day. We didn’t have many of these 30 years ago; however advances in technology have led to the frequency of these entering our vocabulary. Words like cyber-security, firewalls, ransomware, cloud storage, password protocols, the dark net, cyber scamming, worms, information wipeouts, and stolen identity are emerging every day.
A third set is yet to be accurately quantified, and that is the hostility of humans on and in their own habitat — our planet Earth. The accurate effects of pollution, harmful residential practices, harmful industrial practices, and the risks posed by all of these are all being studied in their infancy. We do not have thousands of years of data to determine the timelines to total destruction. Our calculations for example, global warming seems to be too conservative and sea levels appear to be only one of interactive variables moving towards a cataclysmic series of events. Armageddon could be a real prophetic situation.
So we return to Granny’s advice. On the predictable side are the politicians. My advice and opinion of the beginning of June encompassed COVID-19, earthquakes, and storms/hurricanes, and the possibility of combinations of these seemed to pale in the face of popular national celebrations, parties, and the reliance of popularity rather than good sense and strong leadership.
But strong leadership is the major factor in legacies and memories.
There was no referendum when Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, or when British children were removed from industrial cities to the countryside when the German Luftwaffe bombed the productive places making war supplies.
Sir Winston Churchill — not remotely a man without faults — did not seek popularity, rather he chose the survival of his people. Will the same sentiments inure to our prime minister, or will he be the man to be remembered as the one who took no firm decisions and let thousands of Jamaicans party themselves to death?
There is turmoil, revolution, strongly expressed dissent, and death on every continent and as the reality seeps in, the copycats will be emboldened to emulate those sentiments and actions.
COVID-19, the earthquake, the tropical storm and flooding, are not the only regional news. The Government of St. Lucia changed peacefully; the President of Haiti was assassinated; Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves was hit by a thrown missile; and Prime Minister Andrew Holness was “cussed out” on social media. What is the Caribbean coming to? Turmoil rears its head on every continent, “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, and mere anarchy is released”. —William Butler Yeats.
There is no balm in Gilead and the churches are silent. The private sector is waiting on the Government to take decisions that private enterprise need for their own survival. Doctors and nurses are beginning to speak out and challenge the slow speed of decision-making; scientists are enforcing their professional expertise. Business persons are quietly moving to new services and products and new markets unknown to the vagaries of Jamaican governments.
A new wave of dissent is coming, and this current government may be facing the real tsunami of public perception.