I will keep this short; in order not to rant too much.
The sole purpose of this post is express my disappointment in things Jamaican.
Politicians who do what they decide they want to do - irrespective of the will of the people, irrespective of the damage and chaos that their actions will cause; irrespective of the generational hurdles that they are putting up for the nation's children (their kids are insulated) - is not what we are sold as people who elect "representatives" to advocate for our collective best interest.
There is no transparency in this Constitutional Monarchy that Jamaica resides in.
Are Jamaicans fully aware of the holdings, affiliations and (business) interests of their elected politicians?
Are Jamaicans fully confident that their leaders are doing what is right for them and not what is right for their own concerns?
Where is the accountability necessary to ensure that "elected service" is exactly that? Service to the people.
Has it all been tainted?
The Root Of It All - Corruption
I know you have heard this sankey before - over and over again - beaten to death - to the point where it does not phase you, it does not register, and everyone assumes that it is a part of life.
It is should never be a "natural" part of anything.
It is a bastardization of the system that the Jamaican public is sold as democratic.
Corruption is formally defined as "the use of public office for private gain".
I am not just talking about your grand-daddy's corruption here.
A bribe here or there to clear a barrel from the wharf.
A likkle pocket money to make some government process go faster or smoother.
All of these are well-understood and rightly identified as corrupt activities.
I am talking about more damaging and long-lasting acts.
Things like creating financial avenues that "seemingly" addressing public problems, while profiting from it in the back-end.
Things like manipulating financial markets, misinforming the Jamaican people and ensuring that your actions lead to profits for you and yours.
I am talking about systemic games that hurt millions of people for very long periods of time, but that are not illuminated and visible to the public (till the worse happens).
Can anyone in public office in Jamaica honestly and publicly say that you are not corrupt (by the generally accepted definition above)?
Everyone is at fault.
The Jamaican Media
The media is supposed to be one of the first countermeasures in our system - holding public officials, who have been entrusted with the keys to the country, accountable.
Where is the media on matters that are important to the present and future?
Where is the Jamaican media when it comes to investigative journalism?
Where is the media when it comes to being the objective arbiters of truth and what is good and right for Jamaicans?
Where is the media when it comes to representing the common youth and ensuring that their future will be better?
Unless you like sensational, surface-level discussions about the inconsequential.
Where is the media when it comes to shining a light on corruption and ensuring that Jamaica lives up to its promise?
When did journalism die in Jamaica?
When did the media give over its power to the elites and become their lapdogs?
When did this critical check-and-balance in the Jamaica governance process become ineffective?
Irregardless of the answers, it is time for a resurgence.
Time for the media to start fulfilling their extremely important mission.
However, there are a lot of parties involved; not just the media.
The Jamaican People
Light bills are now taxed.
The Road Traffic Act is in full effect.
National Housing Trust !!!!!!
The Cybercrime Act of 2015 seeks to make all Jamaicans potential criminals for just interacting and expressing themselves online.
The wholesale privatization of public Jamaica assets continues full steam ahead.
The Jamaican government still prioritizes international loan debt servicing over the needs and growth of its people and the local economy.
And what has been the reaction of the public?
A few rumblings here today. A few rumblings there tomorrow. Nothing after a week. Back to normal and their voice counts for nothing.
A horrible example of representational politics if I ever saw one.
The "Noise. Noise. Block Road" strategy has been "best in breed" practice in Jamaica since time immemorial.
It has also been wholly useless and ineffective for just as long.
How about the people trying different techniques to hold government and media accountable?
What about hitting them where it hurts?
What about investigating the behind-the-scenes deals that are really driving these initiatives?
What about naming and shaming the people involved?
What about finding the by-laws and statutes that can empower you to call people (representatives or other) on their bullshit?
What about real "grassroot organization" to educate, uplift and empower voters to be accountability barometers for the people they elect?
What about trying something different, something new, something unexpected, that the people who have the public trust would never expect?
Honestly, I don't know what will work, but I know a few million of us can come together and try a whole heap a ting.
The Jamaican Intelligentsia
At this point, I know I have lost a lot of you and that is fine.
I know I promised to be short and I think I am failing miserably at that too. Okay.
However, two more things before I sign off.
The most egregious of all the phenomena in the Jamaican ecosystem to me is the people that know better, but are just complacent and resigned to the status quo.
To whom much is given, much is expected.
It is through the shared sacrifice and labor of every single Jamaican that the Intelligentsia was and is able to get to where they are, whether they are still in Jamaica or in the diaspora.
Sure, you worked hard individually. Sure, you had the love and support of your family.
However, if you did not have the infrastructure, name-recognition and prestige that comes from all of us, even the ones you won't publicly embrace and or acknowledge, working together and making Jamaica the international power house that it is, then you would not be where you are today.
Let that sink in.
Now, think about how your complacency is helping make this ship sink faster.
Then think on how you can help fix the problem and do something.
The Effects of Unaccountability: Apathy and Powerlessness
I have the luxury of being an observer and an insider at the same time.
I am a Jamaican, who like many others, capitalized on education to increase the number of opportunities available.
I am forever grateful of my heritage and know that it is my responsibility to give back in whatever means I can (whenever I can)
This is why when it comes to matters related to Information Technology and Jamaica, I provide help (if asked for or not).
A few days ago, I provided my thoughts on the disastrous impact of the Jamaican Cybercrime Act of 2015 (click here for that post).
This advice was unsolicited. I am anti-politics and pro-people.
The reaction that I received from the blog post indicated that there is apathy and powerlessness in all segments of Jamaica when it comes to public policy.
"This does not apply to me"
"There is nothing I can do about it"
"The politicians will do whatever they want, no matter what I say"
These were sample responses.
It broke my heart.
If you cannot affect your future, then who can?
"If it's to be, It's up to me" - Source Unknown
6/12/2015 02:38:59 am
6/12/2015 09:18:29 am
Agreed. The chance needed for Jamaica will not be driven from within. Believe it or not persons have accepted and help to reinforce the status quo. Our education structure etc all built to maintain. Who I know they (the govt) looking at the diáspora...which I laugh at. If the diaspora had wanted to fight for a chance they would be here. For me, you stay till you cant anymore. Sad to say but its the truth.
6/12/2015 12:33:04 pm
Interestingly enough, the Ministry of Justice saw it fit to launch a thinly veiled series of character attacks against me for my critique of the Cybercrime Act of 2015, The shameful response (with my comments) is here https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0bPjGaTVcWecmlTUl81TWlOZkU/edit?usp=docslist_api It would have been too much to expect a reasoned dialogue. It does prove one thing: they are concerned enough to spend a considerable amount of their time on writing a 7-page response to a blog post. Hopefully this leads to action, real debate and a honest discussion of the issues.
5/3/2017 01:50:46 pm
I understand your perspective, but I think it's important not just for Jamaicans, but for many others to realize why things are *really* like this.
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Dr Tyrone Grandison
Executive. Technologist. Change Agent. Computer Scientist. Data Nerd. Privacy and Security Geek.