The Jamaican government has really got to ask itself some questions about its credibility. Its Minister of National Security decided that a Muslim leader from Trinidad was an undesired visitor, so deported him speedily back home. Except that the proposed means of travel did not meet the deportee’s taste, so the Minister arranged for the rental of a private jet…for J$4 million or US$36,000. We sent Abu Bakr back for how much?
Oh, no, they didn’t! Oh, yes, they did!
Let’s not waste time discussing how badly any segment of Jamaica needs dosh like that, which we dashed away.
Malcolm Gladwell talked this week about legitimacy: it needs respect, equity, and trustworthiness. Someone ought to give the government a copy of Gladwell’s David and Goliath and have each member read a page to all the others until the book is finished.
The anger that a decision such as that over a private jet can caused is well measured by the context of the decision:
*A country that cannot afford to buy temperature checking machinery to implement a new policy of screening visitors for Ebola.
*A country that asked children to bring water to school to be able to flush away their toilet waste.
*A country that cannot afford to fix its fleet of aged garbage trucks, to help deal with the mass of garbage piling up and facilitating the spread of diseases that the government says it wants to curb.
*A country mired under a huge debt burden.
*A country already dealing with Trinidad over the possible discriminatory treatment of its citizens when denied entry into the twin island republic.
Have we totally lost the plot?
The PM made a gesture this week of curtailing her oft-criticized foreign travel, by saying she would go only if a plane was sent for her by the country wanting her to visit.
Now, we’ve turned that on its head, in our inimitable sun rises in the west fashion. We find a private jet to send away a person we do not want.
The reports are that Mr. AB got stroppy. So, after he threw his toys out of the crib, we shelled out a lot of wonga. Well, tell that to any deportee next time. I imagine the jet did not offer the usual luxuries of champagne and chef-prepared meals. But, maybe, I’m wrong.
The government has just been shown a set of truly horrible poll results about its overall performance, that of its leader, and that of individual ministers. I smiled when I saw that Minister Bunting headed the list of those most thought should get chopped. I now do not wonder why.