by Lipton Matthews
The provision of foreign aid to developing countries has been a major issue in Europe for many years now, and more states intend to build capacity in sectors like security and climate change through technical assistance.
For example in Africa Britain’s emphasis will be security and the Germans will be paying special attention to climate change in the Caribbean. Local leaders are lamenting this decision, on the basis that insufficient aid will reduce their capacity to solve regional ailments.
We, however, need to dispel the notion that Jamaica or any other Caribbean state is entitled to special treatment due to resource constraints, because independent countries cannot rely on the goodwill of their neighbours.
We should be lobbying for strategic partnerships with our development partners, not aid packages. Leaders are expected to set the platform, for a country’s development, but if our leaders see mendicancy as virtue, the pervasive dependency syndrome present in some of our citizens should not be a surprise us.
After fifty plus years of independence, we gladly accept grants from the European Union to finance social programmes and some see nothing wrong with a foreign power (Spain) repairing the Holy Trinity Cathedral, something we should be doing for ourselves.
It would be instructive for us to form strategic alliances with developed countries in order to boost internal capacity. For example, recently South Korea and Indonesia, signed an memorandum of understanding on e-government cooperation, both countries also agreed to conduct joint research and studies in the e-government field, to exchange information related to e-government trends and data, and on the use of e-government instruments and applications.
Furthermore, both the Ambassadors of Germany and Brazil to Jamaica have also expressed an interest in building stronger economic linkages with our country. But the objective of our leaders is to lobby for aid to pursue social objectives, to perpetuate dependence, to show how much “good” they can do for the people. Clearly we have no interest in helping ourselves.
It was also disturbing to hear the PM, Mrs. Simpson-Miller and her sheep like followers, “the sheeple”, boast about the grant which she secured from the European Union. This cannot be seen as an achievement, because the European Union has been subsidizing agriculture in Jamaica for decades and most of the funds will be invested in sugar-related activities. This will be akin to flogging a dead horse. Instead of diversifying the economy we are trying to rebuild a sector that will never regain its former glory.
It is quite unfortunate that as a result of asinine politicians some Jamaicans foolishly believe that these aid packages and social programmes will bear fruit or make “Jamaica” prosperours. But then again leaders reflect the general population, so if most voters are mendicants who don’t know have objectives, you can expect them to elect equally inept persons to lead them.