Iyah yu si how de place a run? We cyaan jus sidung soh an nuh do nutten. Weh yu seh? Jamaica. No problem! A figment of our collective imagination. Under the watchful eyes of the current regime our country has denigrated into a Hobbesian state of nature where life is now "nasty, brutish and short".
Jamaica Magazine

Yaad a run red Iyah …as told by Maurice Drysdale

Iyah yu si how de place a run? We cyaan jus sidung soh an nuh do nutten. Weh yu seh? Jamaica. No problem! A figment of our collective imagination. Under the watchful eyes of the current regime our country has denigrated into a Hobbesian state of nature where life is now “nasty, brutish and short”. The nexus of crime and politics have crippled the Jamaican society to a point where, “force and fraud, the two cardinals of war flourish in an atmosphere of perpetual fear and strife”. Civilized living is under threat, and life for the vast majority of Jamaicans amount to nothing but a daily struggle to ‘keep the wolf from the door’. The ‘dutty politics’ of skullduggery practised over the years cultivated seeds of criminality which germinated into community enforcers known as dons, sprouting up in most inner-city communities. As a consequence, we are now reaping what was sewn. We find ourselves in a situation where government creates more problems than it solves.

Having ploughed and fertilized the soil that nurtured the growth of political garrisons with criminal organizations now overgrowing like a canopy, attempts are being made to solve the problem by cutting down what was planted. Several communities are now designated as war torn communities because of fighting between genetically linked political gunmen over turf. After creating mayhem and taking several innocent lives as collateral damage, these same gunmen who created the war sit with religious and political leaders to make a compromise and work out peace initiatives. There are values which, if sacrificed on the altar of partisan politics, or for political mileage will cause a government to fail. The mire of corruption at the highest levels of society provides fertile ground for the breeding of social decadence. The moral crisis in political leadership which lacks transparency and accountability leaves the government in a compromising and untenable position.

Enough is enough. Are we going to just sit idly by and watch our country falling into an abyss and do nothing to stop it? Is the misery and oppression not yet too much to bear for us to rise up? Maybe the downtrodden and oppressed are so divided and powerless they simply hope for a better life in the hereafter. Iyah we a trod pon de winepress too long a time fe rebel. De I seet? We must take our country back. Freedom without the rule of law is anarchy, but law without freedom is tyranny. The fundamental rights and freedom of all Jamaicans must again be respected so that while we seek to restore order, control crime and stabilize our society we do not sacrifice their happiness.

The vicious cycle of violent crimes (particularly murders, most of which are caused by domestic disputes), and pattern of social breakdown cannot be simply dismissed as the product of extreme poverty and high unemployment as is suggested in some quarters. Those factors though, are among the primary causal factors. The best way to alleviate poverty is to create wealth. Wealth creation is generated by real investments. New and increased levels of investments will reduce unemployment and over time move the economy to full employment. If a stable climate is created which facilitates investments; the increase in real gross national product (GNP) from those investments will increase government revenue and help in reducing the fiscal deficit.

What is needed is a government that will transcend both JLP/PNP and view all Jamaicans equally. Pulling Jamaica out of its current dilemma will require a new political sociology as it involves the de-synchronization of certain mores, norms, values and attitudes which were cultivated with the tribalistic political culture for over 40 years. Of all the principles and habits which lead to social and political prosperity, morality is indispensable. When a government loses moral authority, it loses legitimacy. An effective government that will foster national unity, transparent in its operations and accountable to the people is what Jamaicans are clamouring for.

Bless Up Zeen

About the author

Kharl Daley