Stress, Hypertension and the Jamaican Economy

The BottomLine is that The Global brief on hypertension describes why, in the early 21st century, hypertension is a global public health issue.

It describes how hypertension contributes to the burden of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure; and premature death; and disability.

The document also explains how hypertension is both preventable and treatable and how governments, health workers, civil society, the private sector, families and individuals can join forces to reduce hypertension and its impact.

The BottomLine is that taking into consideration all the risk factors for High Blood Pressure and the attendant lifestyle diseases in our specific case here in Jamaica, within the context of sustained stress as a result of poverty and ongoing violence; trauma from high taxes and utility bills; an Unjust Justice System which blatantly protects the rich and the children of the privileged; and the callous insensitivity of Government to the suffering of the Jamaican people – it is no wonder that so many Jamaicans are presenting with High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Heart Attacks and Strokes!


The BottomLine is that as Jamaicans we must pay special attention to the conversation on High Blood Pressure as a Global Public Health Crisis, but more than that we must be cognizant of our own special situation in the matter.

The BottomLine is that as a Nation, as a People, we have been under continued stress for so long we can’t even remember when the trauma began, BUT the last three decades have been especially traumatic for all African Jamaicans:

  • as we came face to face with crime AND VIOLENCE in a way in which many of us have never dreamt we would
  • As we witnessed successive Governments wantonly squander the public’s purse for their own personal gain with scant regard for “we the people”
  • as we watched seemingly helpless, as members of Parliament who were supposed to represent the people, and protect our rights, fill their pockets with our money, sold of our properties to the highest bidder and became rotten rich while we became poorer and poorer

The BottomLine is that many of us have already succumbed to High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and Kidney failure as a result of both, many of our warriors are dead; and many of us are now battling illnesses and diseases for which we have no name, except for the stress which has brought it on.

The BottomLine is that we have been beaten down with Tribal Politics as each political Party and its Leadership successively strengthen and institutionalize the politics of scarce benefits and spoils, and it seems that we’ve come to a junction, a fork in the road where we know that this is the place where we all must fight for our rights, for equal rights, for Justice – or else die like hogs!!

The BottomLine is that the implementation of exorbitant increases in property and all other taxes, the steady decline of the Jamaica dollar and the strident refusal of the Portia Simpson led Government to show empathy with our suffering, to show empathy with the people, through symbolic gestures of cabinet reduction, cuts in salaries, cut back on the wanton spending on high end vehicles and similar luxuries – rest heavily on many of us and many are presenting with High Blood Pressure, dying from Heart Attacks due to Stress and suffering all kinds of strokes.

As it is now, Jamaicans are bracing ourselves for another Budget presentation, in an cruel and brutal environment in which many are already feeling the stress of a system which after it has taxed its people within an inch of our lives, turns around and tax the barrels of food sent by our relatives and friends overseas.

The BottomLine is that Taxation without representation – is extortion!


So now we ask, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Kings asked right here in Ocho Rios Jamaica in the 1960s – where do we go from here – Chaos or Community?

The BottomLine is that as daunting as things are, as angry as we may be, as hopeless as the situation might appear, we cannot, MUST NOT go down without a fight!

A fight against High Blood Pressure yes, a fight against strokes and Heart Attacks yes, a fight against Kidney Failure..

But more than anything, The BottomLine is that even while we fight these non-communicable diseases, we must also fight against injustice, against oppression against a system which is bent on bleeding us dry.

We Must fight for a better Jamaica for ourselves and and our families, for our children! We must reclaim Jamaica, take back Jamaica from the imbeciles who will drive it into the ground! W must take back Jamaica from those who reck this country while we are still on it! We must take back Jamaica!

We cannot lie down and die! We must not die like hogs!

Neither can we wait on the evolution of history at this critical juncture in our development, we who are concerned with unity and independence and prosperity and freedom – MUST like Osageyfo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, be prepared to give history a revolution push.

There is no better leader within the PNP or the JLP – There is no saviour who is going to come and miraculously change our fortunes. This is our fight. We are it. We are our own leaders. We must be the change that we want to see!

The BottomLine is that Hypertension can be prevented, so too can poverty, tribalism, oppression and injustice!


The World Health Organization says High Blood Pressure is a silent killer which rarely causes symptoms and that increasing public awareness is key. The WHO argues that High Blood Pressure is a serious warning sign that significant lifestyle changes are urgently needed.

The BottomLine is that poverty, injustice, tribalism, crime and violence and oppression are (like hypertension) preventable and treatable social disorders and governments, public sector workers, civil society, the private sector, families and individuals must join forces to reduce the impact.

Our situation tells us clearly that is a serious warning sign that significant lifestyle changes are urgently needed.

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

(Claude McKay)

Thats the BottomLine!

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