COMMENTARY

The Prime Minister Has No Clothes

The Prime Minister of Jamaica is at liberty to propose and bamboozle his subjects with a Ministry of Peace and Human Development, or “Whatever he wants to call it.”

Shell-shocked, over-promised, and underdeveloped by governments that insist on patronage as the way to secure their stranglehold on the levers of power, Jamaicans do not have the liberty to hold their breath at the Prime Minister’s diagnosis or proposed remedy.

The facts are not in dispute: Jamaica is a violent country with an unenviable murder rate, among other things. But Jamaica’s war with itself is not happenstance or independent of our governance.

Indeed, one should not blindly assume that the Jamaican citizenry are idiots and fools, mindlessly looking for opportunities to maim and kill each other for no reason. No!!! Jamaicans are reacting from a perspective mindful of their insecurities and vulnerabilities that government policies have fostered and foisted. The inevitable consequences lead to violence, victims, and a predictable cycle of lower quality of life.

So here we are, punch-drunk and delusional, all excited about the perceived need for a Ministry of Peace and Development. Mindful that an armed-to-the-teeth Ministry of National Security and a tough-talking Ministry of Justice have not pacified or policed us with shock and awe nor by fear and trembling, are we to be star-struck by the empty ruminations of a PM about a rosy policy change to secure a better tomorrow? Do we not yet understand that insecurities breed violence, or worse that the threat of violence requires preemptive responses? Do we need a study to tell us that?

Why do we think almost every Jamaican wants a gun? Or that students are arming themselves with knives?

When we are in a hole, unless we want to go deeper, we should start climbing out. A new Ministry of Peace is a fig leaf to our nakedness.

So, what is the solution?

The problem is fundamentally a matter of social insecurity and hopelessness exacerbated by government policy preying on its citizens. Until the citizens are assured of their welfare as the government’s priority- not any damn Prime Minister’s legacy- the war with ourselves will be enjoined. That is not an idle speculation. It is predictable.

The fix, therefore, is in prescribing procedures and certainty in our governance structures, e.g., fixed election dates.

A simple start, however, is a breakfast program using local foods for every school.   It’s the best thing we’ll ever do. We will look back at it as a defining chapter of our turnaround, and wonder why we hadn’t thought of it before, along with why we hadn’t thrown the bums out of office and, moreover, allowed them in, in the first place.

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Readers Bureau, Contributor

 Edited by Jesus Chan

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