Can Jamaicans find it in themselves to stop being partisan?

I don’t know how many of us there are, but I sense the number is growing. Many of us are not directly connected, though some of us are. However, even if connected, we have not agreed on any structure or mandate or way of proceeding. Maybe, it’s better to stay that way–developing organically.

I often get criticized for doing something that I think more Jamaicans need to do. I was sometimes vilified for not doing it when I lived in Barbados. I never felt the need to do it in the US. When I lived in the UK, I was less ready to do it.

I try not to see things from a party-political standpoint. Now, that’s not to say that I do not have political bias; of course, I do, but I try to see if the arguments that come from various sides stand up to scrutiny. I often find that those who stand for political parties that share my views do not speak with a voice that I would want to follow.

I much respect the views of Gordon Robinson, an attorney with a sardonic wit. He wrote on his blog yesterday about our seemingly interminable fight with violent crime, under the title ‘Here we go again‘. He pointed out that the latest attempts by the police at ‘cordons and searches, curfews and detentions for preventative and investigative purposes’  are doomed to fail, because they’ve been tried many times before and failed over the past 40 years. He argues that governments need to accept that they have failed:

‘The first step must be a political one. The political parties must publicly accept that both have failed miserably at curbing violent crime. Both must admit that neither has the complete answer

We, as Jamaicans, must insist on taking crime off the political table. We must stop pointing political fingers on this issue. The Parties must get together; form a joint task force on crime to include security experts and wise men from the citizenry; and undertake to continue the eventually agreed policy across administrations.’

That’s where we come in–those who can and do see things without a glazed political optic that says oranges are nice because they are orange, or green vegetables are good for you because they are green.

It’s easy for me to take this attitude, I’ll readily admit, because I owe no favours to any party and do not depend on any party for any favour. I cannot be so bold as to say that holds for many Jamaicans. But, like the problem of crime itself, it’s one of the cords that needs to be cut. Easy for me to say when I have no contracts given to me by the government of the day. Easy for me, when I don’t have to depend on an MP or councillor of party x or y to help me with school fees or medical bills.

The easier thing to do would be for the politicians to stop being ‘fatted calf’ from which every one can eat. Easier said, than done. Do we have enough politicians of integrity to walk away from that? Tune in for the next episode.


Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)