Jamaica is a country of many constants, from the average temperatures each day, to a stunning inability to anticipate trouble. We cannot change the weather much each day, but we can anticipate better. I wont be long here.

Think of any problem in Jamaica, and ask yourself, ‘About when did this problem first emerge as a serious issue?’. Then, step back in time and ask yourself, ‘When did decision makers first indicate they would address the problem?’. Note the time difference between these two questions. 

Now, note when the first action was taken (if any) to address the issue. Note the difference in time between this third point and the first two. 

Now note your age. 

Divide the numbers you have so far each by your actual age: that will tell you what proportion of your life you have spent waiting for something to get done. Its best value will be close to 0; its worst value will be 1.

Now, do another exercise.

It’s unlikely that your first memory will be much before when you were two years old, but whatever that age, make that your start point, or 0.

Get some lined graph paper. Along the bottom you will have 0 in the bottom left corner (standard), and as the line moves to the right you can section it off in single years or blocks of 5 (just for convenience).

Now, on the left axis, make some marks to show ‘issue identified’, ‘stated decision to address issue’, ‘first action taken to address issue’, and finally ‘address issued. Plot the marks for each of these four things along the line of your ‘age’, from 0 to now. How does it look?

If you are aware of many issues, then colour each series of ‘actions’ in a different colour. 

Look at the graph. 

If your graph has very few complete lines for each issue, I will put it to you that you know what is the problem. If you have complete lines, please inform me of the issue, and how many years it took to get from ‘start’ to ‘finish’.

I would wager that many things have not been fully addressed in your ‘lifetime’. 

That is one of the constants of life in Jamaica, and it’s awfully sad.

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