The View From The Soapbox

2013 – Time For Change

 YardEdge welcomes this contribution from guest blogger, Nicholas Stephenson. 

Jamaica has the opportunity to make itself a world leading society, but to get there change is necessary. And though I may personally advocate revolutionary change to improve the lives of our people, the change I write about has to do with a transformation – in governance, in ethics, a move away from the self-centred egoism and bling culture so relished and idolised by all in society, from our people living in inner city communities to our leaders, public & private.

Do I hear someone say only revolution can bring that about?

A look at the last 50 years shows us how poorly we have led our people and country. And rather than talking about the rapid development of Singapore, or the Asian economies, I urge us to look at somewhere closer to home! Ethiopia for example – sustained annual growth rates of 5.8% and World Bank investment of US$6 BILLION, presently being expended on 27 major projects with US$2.7 BILLION still to be disbursed.

And guess what, very little violence with people walking freely about their business, day or night, not worrying about some sick illiterate coward holding them up with an illegal firearm. It shows what a military dictatorship truly concerned about its people can do.

So what’s wrong Jamaica? Are we no better than our first governors, some of whom were no more than pirates & buccaneers? Are we their spiritual descendants?

We are a nation of haves and have-nots and need to voluntarily make some visible and far reaching improvements for the betterment of all our people. Otherwise the day will come when we will be forced to do so. Ganja alone keeps our people subdued and destroys any revolutionary fervour.

And yet it is not revolutionary to say that those who profit the most in our society should be contributing the most, so that others can also share in good fortune. No man is an “off-shore” island, and in the New Year we each should examine what drives us and start showing good will to all people, not because it makes us feel good but because it is the right and just thing to do.

One thing we should never sacrifice – basic levels of fairness and human dignity. A healthy, well-educated and well paid workforce creates betterment for all of us. If we all pull in the same direction then we will achieve and over-reach our goals.

Let us abandon the petty tax evasion practices that prevent people paying their fair share to society, and acknowledge that if we want to see a more cohesive society then we have to put in as well as take out.

We have not done enough for all our people in the first 50 years of independence; it would be criminal to squander the next 50.


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