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The true enigma that is life in Jamaica is hard to understand unless you are living it.

The past 24-hour spell has had yet another gruesome murder, and a bus crash that killed four school children on their way to school in Manchester (rural Jamaica). I read a report last evening of a family being held hostage by gunmen in their home in uptown Kingston.

The government has moved quickly to try to put in place safer transport for school children in rural areas, asking for large buses from JUTC. Holmwood High School, which has had its students involved in several horrific accidents since 2011, puts on a charter bus, but students prefer to take the ‘bashment buses’, which have loud and raunchy music. A news report just a few minutes again indicated that the drivers of the two buses involved in yesterday’s crash had some 200 traffic citations against them, several of which were still outstanding.

The Jamaica Teachers Association are concerned about the number of accidents involving Holmwood students. Some people have been quick to argue that the school is cursed, even calling for exorcisms. People have focused on how resources are lacking to deal with the victims of road accidents. It’s common that ambulances are not available and injured or dead have to be moved in pick up trucks. We are not really a backward country but we have some skewed priorities.

Violent crimes seem to have come back into fashion in past weeks. September, not to remember.

Some say–and I’ve heard it in conversation often this week–that we love to do too little and too late. We also refuse to learn lessons, especially if we cannot say that they are our own ideas. I’ve seen this aplenty in other countries, so we’re not alone in the small-minded stakes.

Hand-wringing and teeth gnashing will be in much evidence for coming days.

We have more evidence that some people in high places just don’t get it. This time, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) did not smell hard enough when he decided to accept an award from the ruling political party. Yes, it’s a dead rat! How he did not sense any impropriety in doing this, and not mentioning it to other members of the ECJ. How the PNP officials who proposed this did not sense any problem can only be because they don’t understand what it means to be above reproach. The sense of being out of touch gets more fuel from this kind of dunderhead action. So, of course, the man has to resign. But, not leave the ECJ? People smell impartiality, so you can’t hang around in some other position as if you’re washed clean and waiting to be recalled. You can’t half fall on your sword.

Jamaicans talk about people having hard heads or hard ears, if they seem unable to act sensibly when given good advice. It must be a national disease.20130926-121114.jpg