Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The size of the goat's bottom

Welcome to 2013.

I know, but, it's the first post for the year and it wasn't gonna happen before the 8th. ;-) Speaking of which, it's day eight, but, given all that's happened so far - especially in my fair homeland of Jamaica - it practically feels like we're halfway in.

One really has to wonder (as one channels one's inner Queen Elizabeth) whether the island of Jamaica means herself well. Of course, by that I mean, whether the people of Jamaica really want the best for the country for generations to come. Successive governments/administrations have made their mark over the years. The economists and statisticians would tell you that the ebb and flow of economic growth may be markedly aligned with one or other of the country's two main political parties being at the helm at x point in time. And, yet, some people - well, the majority of voters - intentionally chose the current crop of political leaders. On purpose! Is my homeland self-harming? Is there a kind of warped pleasure that she gets from shooting herself in the foot?

Now, as I continue with my (unusual) political harangue, there are a few things that concern me. One is the proclivity of some persons to be up in arms against someone because of an opposing political view. That is beyond me. Not only is each person entitled to his/her opinion, but, as my sis likes to point out, when a voter enters a voting booth in his/her constituency, he/she has to make a choice. Then, the voter dips his/her finger in the ink provided to show that he/she has already voted then runs along and hopes for the best. What is the point of being upset with another because that person does not share your political view? Sometimes I think some of us show up to have a battle of wits with persons who are unarmed - to borrow from that quote. Because, no matter how you try to reason with some thick-headed nincompoop on some comment boards - thinking it, no name-calling now - they just don't seem to get the idea that not everybody will vote for their choice of party/candidate or share their views. The minute you start disagreeing, they start attacking you vs. the points you're making.

Another concern is about the auto-pilot setting the country seems to be on. (Yeah, I read somewhere that prepositions are quite acceptable words to end a sentence with.) I've heard that auto-pilot term being bandied about in reference to the nature of the governance being meted out in Jamaica right now. It's quite apt and puts me in mind of this calypso by Gypsy - being sung about another Caribbean island at the time, but, oh, how allegorically fitting - and timely.

Hardly anything summed up the smashing and, already tiring, start to the new year like the New Year's Day letter to the Editor of the Jamaica Observer, Let's end our relationship, PNP, by sis @MizDurie. It echoed what so many were thinking. No wonder it went viral in a short while  - like the gift that keeps on giving.

Then, a couple days after, the Cabinet was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the Office of the Contractor General - a commission of Parliament established to monitor the award of government contracts.

A few days after that, the Prime Minister gave an address to the nation, which is more palatable through this treatment by sis, published in the Jamaica Observer. Again, this treatment echoes the thoughts of many.

And, the very next day, which brings us to today, like the Real McKoy being revealed after the decoy, an article in the Chicago Tribune was brought to our attention: Jamaica's debt hurricane. Not sure how many people hung their heads in shame after reading it. I did. Here was Jamaica, a gem of the Caribbean, having produced so many greats, still producing so many greats, being held up as a lesson in economic catastrophe and "irresponsible stewardship".

There's a Jamaican proverb that says, "Tek bad tings mek joke" and another, "Tek kin teet kibba heart bun." The first means, essentially, don't let your calamity get you down. Laugh at it. The second, smile or laugh to cover up the heart ache. Jamaicans are resilient people with a reserve of courage blah blah blah. We are a resilient set but the country needs proper leadership and good governance.

The governing administration would do well to remember another popular Jamaican proverb, "Everyday bucket a go a well, one day di bottom mus drop out." The people will be able to take so much and no more. You know? This government has clearly taken up a responsibility that it is ill-equipped to manage. What a legacy! "The Greece of the Western Hemisphere" stamped across Jamaica. Lord have mercy. In the last general elections, power and position were fought for and won with weapons of mass deception. But, the Empress has no clothes and, well, as for the administration as a whole, I can hardly say it better than my favourite favourite Jamaican proverb:

Goat mus know di size a him bottom before him swallow mango seed.

All the best for 2013! Lord knows we're gonna need it.


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