by Lipton Matthews
Presently, Jamaica is marred by corruption, poverty and unfettered mismanagement. But despite the liberal nature of the Press and the rise of modern civil society groups, very little is being done to ensure that those who opt to become parliamentarians perform to the best of their abilities. Politicians are usually blamed for every possible evil, but in reality the people of Jamaica are the architects of the present state of affairs.
If a boss accepts lacklustre performance from his employees then neither he nor they will ever succeed. Likewise, if voters tolerate the complacency of their leaders (ie their servants/employees), then they too like the executive won’t achieve much. We accuse politicians of being “smooth talkers”, but if they are not pressured into correct action, then no execution will take place.
A few remembrances:
1) ‘Gov’t sets sights on idle lands’ (Jamaica Observer, 12th June 2005).
“The Government is aiming at bringing at least 20,000 acres (8,094 hectares) of public and private lands into production starting this fiscal year, says minister of agriculture, Roger Clarke.”
2) ‘$143-m Goat House’ (Jamaica Observer, June 25, 2012).
“SEVEN years after Government spent more than $143 million to acquire the Goodyear factory in St Thomas with the stated intention of opening a call centre, the run-down facility lies idle, providing shelter for goats.”
3) ‘$1 Million A Day Down The Drain’ (Jamaica Gleaner February 10, 2013).
“”In terms of the revenues from its operation, this is falling very, very short of its operating expenses,” said UDC General Manager Desmond Malcolm.”
Not one of the above-mentioned snippets of government projects/programs has borne profitable fruit from the taxpayers’ expenditure, except for their lining of their cronies’ pockets. It is the duty not only of a mature populace, but also of a mature press, to constantly remind Ministers of Governments of their promises and waste.
Some of us believe that we can set low standards for our leaders, forget their empty promises and then overnight, they will become star performers. I don’t think we realize just how much politicians love public apathy! They also know that it is easy to placate citizens by announcing grandiose projects, because they don’t care to remember unfulfilled promises.
We all agree that an economy greatly in need of a stimulus cannot afford to entertain idle assets. They can either be divested, which is the preferable route, or redeveloped. However on the other hand, erupting into a frenzy whenever you hear that billions of your tax dollars are being used (ie wasted) to maintain idle buildings won’t solve the problem if you forget about it by tomorrow.
Well thinking citizens, we are not suggesting that anyone should dump tonnes of manure outside Parliament in order to show our disapproval of politicians like the French horse breeder (maybe tyres, like the Trinidadian with his ‘Tyres of Shame’?), but we insist that Jamaicans should do more than talk for a few seconds.
Lipton Matthews is a first year law student and is unusual in being a Libertarian-Conservative Jamaican Adolescent who believes in the virtues of Capitalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.