Monday, November 16, 2009

The White Elephant In The Room....

I read this letter to the Editor today in The Jamaica Gleaner & felt I needed to share it in my does indeed capture what is happening in front of our very eyes - our own state of crisis is like the white elephant in the room:

LETTER OF THE DAY - Hypocrisy and distractions
Published: Monday November 16, 2009

The Editor, Sir:

I have resisted commenting on the whole Gaza-Gully issue, but after reading The Gleaner on Saturday and seeing an open letter from Howard Hamilton, QC, I really saw red.

I was reminded that some years ago, around the spring of 1988, there were many stories making the rounds about 'Shirley's duppy'. Many people were caught up with this duppy nonsense. Artistes were doing songs about Shirley's duppy and the newspapers were running stories every day about the duppy. There were stories about where she came from and to whom she was speaking and against whom she came to seek vengeance.

I also remember a Rastaman saying to me after hearing some people talking about the duppy: "Mek dem idiots gwan talk bout duppy while politician a run di place in the ground." I asked him what he meant and he explained that whenever a government was messing up, they would seek to distract the people from its failings and the real issues at hand.

Gaza-Gully-Alliance feud

In recent times, the Jamaican media have been fixated on the so-called Gaza-Gully-Alliance feud as if this is the reason for everything going downhill in Jamaica. By doing this, the media are also promoting the worst of these artistes' music much more than they would otherwise have got.

The economy is falling apart, crime spirals out of control, the country does not have a 'fully appointed' police commissioner and the minister of national security is out on sick leave. A former deputy police commissioner has recommended that the entire police force be dissolved and rebuilt; there is no governor for the central bank; and the country is back on its knees to the International Monetary Fund, yet people are distracted by Rampin' Shop and the Gully Side war.

The source of Jamaica's problems is not the Gaza-Gully conflict. I am not a fan of Vybz Kartel or Mavado and I find a lot their lyrics, for the most part, vile and showing ignorance. But the simple fact is they are entertainers and their first job is to entertain whomever is paying them. It is not their jobs to teach, lead, secure, or create job opportunities for the country. I would love them to use their influence and do these things but that is not their job.

Accountability and justice

The politicians, the judiciary and security forces who are being paid by the taxpayers are the ones who need to be held accountable for their ineptitude and blatant disregard for the well-being of the citizens of this country. How many guns do these artistes bring in? How many corrupt police personnel do these artistes employ? Did any of these artistes steal any light bulbs? How much of taxpayers' money are they using to build their houses?

We can try and fix Jamaica or we can keep casting blame and using the entertainers as distractions. We need a system of accountability and justice. I am not a big fan of Peter Tosh either but I know that at least one thing that he sang about rings true to this day: There can be no peace without justice.

I am, etc.,
New York

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