Jamaicans Are Too Accustomed to Bad Governance
The United States is a country of 308 million people.
Blacks are reported to be around 12% of the general population, That’s somewhere between 36 and 37 million people. Black Americans were projected to spend approximately 1.1 and 1.5 trillion dollars on goods and services for the year 2015 . Yet estimates projected the bulk of that money would be spent in businesses not owned or operated by other blacks. In fact the dollar circulates numerous times in the white community. In the Hispanic community the group nearest to Blacks in terms of the dollar circulation the dollar circulates eight (8) times and improving.
In the Black community it circulates less than one time (0). That is a direct sign that we do not own business and we do not support the few black businesses which do exist.
There is a general feeling in some quarters that many of our people are not interested in their own lives. Other critics suggest too many of us are comfortable in our mediocrity , and to some degree our conditions of dependence and a sense of comfortability may transcend geography as it relates to our people. There is a certain sense that some of us have no desire to increase our circumstances beyond the point where we are perpetually scratching in the dust to maintain our survival.
After unprecedented turns at the helm of government in Jamaica the People’s National Party (PNP) was finally voted out of office on the 25th of February, replaced with the Jamaica labor Party (JLP). The island registered dramatic changes in the standard of living since the 1960’s. Unfortunately for the people their standard of living hasn’t changed for the better. The greatest period of prosperity was recorded under the (JLP’s) Leadership of Donald Sangster who died after a brief stint in office and was succeeded by High Lawson Shearer.
In 1972 under a bombardment of hype which convinced the Jamaican people their lives were in bad shape and they needed to change course, the Socialist (PNP) was elected in a landslide victory and Michael Manley became prime Minister. That 1972 vote effectively changed Jamaica in a way that it has not recovered from. By 1980 the voters were so disillusioned with Manley and the state of our country that the PNP was booted from office in a 51-9 route in the then 60 seat legislature.
The JLP’s Edward Seaga took the reins and skillfully turned the economy around . Many Jamaicans now talk about the 80’s with glazed eyes, hoping there could be a return to those days of low crime, low food prices and jobs. Under Edward Seaga, a sense of economic stability returned and once again Jamaicans were comfortable.
By 1988 they were once again in a flirtatious mood , utterly, completely and by recklessly disregarding the tragedy of the 70’s they returned Manley to power.
Manley did not serve out that term , ill-health forced him to turn over power to his deputy Percival James Patterson. Patterson was to become the longest serving Prime Minister in our young nation’s history.
Patterson’s long tenure was not made possible by his good handling of the economy, low crime statistics or any other indicator. Conversely people just gave up on Jamaica , a sense of apathy set in. Poverty, decay , and a sense of malaise became the new normal.
It can reasonably be argued that it was under Patterson that Jamaica took a final turn for the worse and has never recovered.
In 2007 Bruce Golding of the JLP won a slim majority over the PNP’s Portia Simpson Miller. Golding skilfully steered the economy away from the brink. He did it without an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. A series of seemingly peripheral issues ejected Bruce Golding from power and by December 29th 2011 the PNP was back in power. The United States demanded that underworld figure Christopher (Dudus) Coke be extradited to the United States to stand trial and a British interview of Golding in which he said no gays would ever be in his cabinet helped to lead to Golding’s resignation from office.
It did not take long for the PNP led administration to be back on it’s knees begging the IMF for an agreement . The administration secured an IMF deal yes, but meeting IMF targets became the new metric of the Government’s success. There was no metric which involved growth and development. Passing IMF tests was the high water mark. This had disastrous consequences for workers who had to live through wage freezes for much of the PNP’s term while contending with massive price increases and high inflation. This forced much of the small middle class further and further into poverty.
The wage freezes were conveniently lifted as soon as it started getting close to election time in 2016.
No one questioned why the very fund which insisted on wage freezes for years was suddenly on board with freeing the freeze on workers’salaries.
The PNP administration became an IMF darling , why not , whats not to like? The International Monetary Fund is in fact in business to make money. The fund does so by extracting massive interests on it’s loans from small debtor nations while forcing debtor states to adhere to crippling policies which brings much pain to their populations. In the end this is understandable – – they are in the business of making money and I am cool with that .
What may have eluded much of the Jamaican people are the conditions under which Golding was forced from office and how soon after the PNP won the elections of 2011 the new administration was back begging for a deal.
The Labor party was the party of economic growth, the party of the private sector, the party of education……..If these principles are given priority in smaller debtor nations who would the IMF loan money to? If that doesn’t get you thinking nothing will.
Having spent so much time in charge of the country’s affairs the PNP has changed the entire economic, structural and moral paradigm of the island for the worse.
People no longer aspire to self employment and owning their own businesses as much. Being supported by Government and benefiting from some regressive government policy are what Jamaicans aspire to nowadays and these are they who want to walk the straight and narrow.
The once vibrant private sector which ruled in the 60’s has long been replaced by a small cadre of lackeys loyal to the PNP but which is not providing any real jobs for Jamaicans.
Most of the nation’s factories and its manufacturing sector has long moved to Trinidad and other CARICOM states, while many simply closed their doors . Years and years of backward socialist based policies have made it impossible for companies to operate in Jamaica’s corrupt, and hostile business environment. Jamaican government bureaucracy changes on whims, policy positions are not laws they change on the whim of ministers of Government rather that be rooted in law.
In this kind of environment it is no wonder there is an entire generation which has no real concept of how a market economy works outside the confusing, convoluted system they see play out each day.
The old dinosaurs are quite comfortable being deceptive, after all many of them have grown fat on false indoctrination and manipulation of the youth .
In this environment it will be difficult to convince them that this new path of accountability and tax cuts is the correct path.
For too long they have sucked the sour milk they cannot appreciate the taste of fresh milk and to some degree it may give many of them the runs. Look for those who grew fat sucking the nipples for the sour milk to keep coming out claiming that fresh milk is bad for you.
It’s your call , you voted for fresh milk , now support your government. Yes hold the Government accountable but do not allow them to convince you to go back.
By Mike Beckles – Check out his blog HERE
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