How prepared are we as a community to face the possibility of civil unrest in the coming year in light of the predicted economic fall out? Already the president of the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), Edward Chin-Mook is predicting that up to one third of jobs could go in the new year and the World Bank is forecasting the reduction of remittances, the life blood of many communities throughout Jamaica, and a precipitous fall in direct foreign investment.
These ominous forecast s come amidst unreasonable and irrational high expectations after a general election which promised jobs and economic growth. These dreaded projections are taking place in an environment of unacceptable and unprecedented levels of murder and other serious crimes, anti social behaviour and breakdown in social institutions including our political organizations that hitherto were credible conduits to release built up stressors.
Not only is the economy in a recession but our social thinkers are bankrupted while the middle class is in receivership. Unfortunately the present administration is bereft of talent, the management skills and political legitimacy to guide and direct the deluge to come while the opposition malingers, failing to carry out it historical mission to bring forward a truly progressive agenda, in keeping with the expressed desire of the delegate who confirmed working class leadership of that party.
We are without a national movement that could excite the nation towards a common purpose. The trade Union movement is too fragmented to be effective and lack a critical mass to be considered relevant as a change agent, while more than 40 per cent of the population operates outside the formal process.
We have a discredited security force made irrelevant by its own internal contradiction; a church mired in preoccupation with personal blessing rather than a vessel to rescue the perishing and care for the dying and a Rasta movement that is stoned as “Makak” in Derick Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain, living out their lives in dreams and fantasies. A sterile, confused and unfulfilled professional elite characterized by superficiality of bleaching, cosmetic surgery exhibiting all of the insecurities of their downtown ghetto fabulous counterpart, revels in hedonistic pleasure in a perverse desire to be accepted by a mythical “society” of essential brown men, too afraid to look back form whence they came or speak too loudly out of fear that they may lapse into their native vernacular.
“The bottom bun, the middle raw, and the top part taste like a castor oil and if you feeling good go back to cook again,” to quote from an old refrain.
It is under these circumstances that revolution happens thus fulfilling the prophecy, where the 1st shall be last and the last first. According to Luke 1 “ he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.”
It is clear that we are entering a period of economic, social and political instability; a challenging period that will test the mettle of leadership innovativeness and resolve to face the daunting task ahead or be swept away by the deluge. In any event things, will never be the same.