The beginning of a new beginning
(The following was an email from a colleague in response to my earlier posts and in regards tot he deteriorating situation in Jamaica. I think it echoes what many Jamaicans inside and outside the island, are thinking. The name has been withheld because this person holds a government position. I have only edited it for grammar, length, rephrased some parts and omitted parts because of issues of fairness and responsibility).
First of all Louie, we can practically start talking about Bruce Golding in the past tense. We can start writing his obituaries… politically and quite possible otherwise.
Without a doubt, the extradition papers for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke triggered a major fallout in the entire social and political landscape in Jamaica. Many have not yet realised that it has created an opportunity if the wiser, saner and least corrupted leaders of Jamaica decide to pounce on it. This is the point, handed to us, at which we can turn things around.
Bruce Golding is gone, out, finished, finito, done… but he thing is, he doesn’t strike me as someone who will go stoically. He will whine, plead and bargain, and he will carry down as many as possible with him. Like Dudus, he will never face his punishment like a man. That is the character of the man. He was never suited to be the leader of Jamaica. Never.
The rollercoaster has yet to stop. The question is, how long before many others start heading for the airports, perhaps to Venezuela or parts unknown? It is clear to me that Golding moved corruption beyond an unprecedented level in Jamaica, and that many are as tainted as him.
Dudus’s threat to talk will reverberate mainly in the Jamaica Labour Party and several of its leadership… let’s put it this way, ‘dem batty a go twick twick’. Sure some names of the People’s National Party will be called, but more credible deniability exists there. I doubt that many ‘socialists’ actually met and did business with him, He can only make second-hand accusations. With the JLP, it’s ‘my credibility versus Dudus’ credibility’, and right now, my bet is on Dudus as being the more credible.
The major fear is what happens when Golding is trapped, forced to resign and faces jail. He doesn’t have many great cards to play, so he is desperate. He will yap like a puppy is my bet, and all his cronies in the business and political circles know that. And he was at the top of the chain. Suddenly many of those private sector backers who funded his election campaign are going to be very nervous.
Next question is how far in the past will Bruce reach back with the intent to exact repercussions? There are two former prime ministers who must also be more than a little curious. A lot of dominos are in line to fall and I’m sure worse case scenarios are being looked at with greater interest.
But here is the thing. This is going to be the best opportunity to cleanse Jamaica of not only gun and drug-related crime, but the insidious corruption that has infected the body politic. The rich, the poor, the politicians and everyone else caught in-between. The miasma that has sucked the life out of even the most conscionable Jamaican.
Cleanse the JLP, cleanse the PNP, cleanse the private sector, cleanse the church, cleanse the media, and start from scratch. Form a coalition government of the cleanest and brightest of the above (except the church naturally) and start again.
Give an ultimatum to the IMF and holders of our debts. We demand a moratorium, debt repayment and lower interest rates. Restructure our economy so that first off, we can feed ourselves. Ban fast food chains, restrict the influence of cable television, pour money into education especially into medical training, restart a youth service, put money into the social services, and refurbish what we regard as the ghettos (they have waited disproportionately long), revive skills training, put greater emphasis on what Jamaicans are naturally good at (sports, arts, music, craft, some service industries), restructure the bauxite industry, take another look at rail services, change the laws on possession of small amounts of weed, weed out the corruption in the port services and at the airports, restrict the importation of luxury goods. Oh, and that’s just the start.
One of the things that must be understood by all, is that removing the stain of the last several decades, will be a slow, painful process. That was one of the failures of the political parties. No one wanted to face the truth, or present the truth. It was always politically safer to give the impression that Jamaica’s lottery ticket was just around the corner… everyone would soon have unbelievable riches and success. Never going to happen.
Now story has come to bump. We are where we are. We can either go better, or worse. If we continue that Bruce Golding and his cronies were only (notice the past tense) a small pothole, then we are forever lost. If we recognize the opportunity, then we will become better off for it.
Back to me. The above says much.
One of the things I noticed while trying to confirm what this writer had to say, was that some things haven’t changed, which unfortunately makes me a little pessimistic about the writers hope that this is an opportunity that can be seized upon.
Though I do believe that Jamaica has not yet reached the state of political polarization that we see in the United States, where the republicans can on define themselves by their negative roles, where race has become a major issue again, where there is concerted threats to overturn the elected government by force, there is a class prejudice that clearly defines our thinking and thus our actions.
As much as the police service is an oppressive force in America, they are not as out of control as in Jamaica. And they still have great enablers in the upper classes of the country. At least here, a Madoff is arrested and jailed.
In the face of what has to be an operation gone amok, I see the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce giving their full backing to the state military machinery. Now, reading a concise version of their statement, I can slightly appreciate their overall attempt.
But it conveys a message, which is that a lot of what has happened is ok. It is saying that mistakes might happen but there will always be collateral damage. But what has been going on in Jamaica for years, is often plain and simple, state terrorism.
With no disrespect intended for members of the security forces, many have been given a tacit go-ahead by so-called moral and political leadership in Jamaica, to kill and brutalise poor youths to ‘stop crime’.
This tacit approval makes them less sensitive to the true requirements of their jobs and the rights of the people they tend to face. True, they are facing a tough job, but they are making it tougher because there can be no trust between the police and the poor if the first sign of the police means ‘somebody bound fi get murda now’.
And organizations and people like the JCC, who willingly and without evidence, endorse the general actions of the security forces, enable this mentality. And as long as they continue this sanctioning of state brutality, unwittingly or not, then the divisiveness in Jamaica will continue. And as long as there remains two Jamaica’s nothing will change.
The have-nots will continue to see and feel this division, continue to resent it and the ghettos will fester. I am sickened when middle and upper class people believe that they are the only ones capable of building Jamaica. Without all hands aboard, Jamaica is lost.
Readers are heartily invited to comment on these issues.