When I started work at the Bank of England, my interviewer told me that I’d been hired not because I was expected to have the right answers, but because I was expected to ask the right questions.
Jamaica can be interesting because many have been brought up not feeling comfortable either asking questions or answering them. You see it, sadly, in many areas where people yearn for answers yet are often met with none or at best bluster, arrogance, and annoyance.
Another piece of wisdom given to me by one of my managers at the Bank, during a tough performance appraisal, was to never be afraid to ask a question or make a statement: “You may be the only one who really understands,” he said.
Finally, the third piece of wisdom I was offered by another manager was “Only connect…” In other words, don’t try to act as if you have the solutions, but put pieces together as best you can. Others and events will do the necessary completion. It requires more patience to see things play out. With those reminders to myself, I’m very happy to stand accused, if that is the term, as one of the ‘Articulate Minority”. It’s a badge to wear, proudly, I think.
Jamaica has a bully culture and it helps to remember that when observing how power relationships play out. One can see it with the high- and heavy-handed way many officials deal with the public. It is part of the ‘Ah mi seh so!’, which tells you who is in charge.
Ponder that awhile when you think about changing the way Jamaicans operate. They often resist reasoning but respond to force, or expect force to be applied in order for things to change.
A trivial example. We opine about road deaths. It seems that some sections of road users are just stubborn in refusing to change for what seem like obvious reasons, like saving lives. What’s left? Draconian clampdown?
I put it out there, in much the same way that we face police officers, who should be our protectors but assume the role of our terrorisers.
Food for thought, that’s all.