By Mario Boothe
If the first weeks of 2013 are anything to go by, then Jamaicans are gearing up for a hell of a year that may just resemble the Kingdom of Hades after our government finally pursues a debt control strategy with the intention of actually resolving our economic concerns for the long term, which may include some unpopular decision of the cut, slash and burn nature (austerity).
Mario Boothe is a young aspiring political analyst, with a growing blog readership. He has been involved in the Jamaican political environment with his involvement in political organizations and groups. He has obtained an associate’s degree in hospitality and tourism management, majoring in travel and tourism.
The fact is that Gordon House is buckling heavily under the pressure of interior (populace, public and private sectors) and exterior (investors, IMF and governments) forces concerning Jamaicans debt to GDP ratio and impeded growth.
The Chicago Tribune ran an editorial titled: “Jamaica’s Debt Hurricane” concerning the debt hole that we have dug for ourselves and likened our situation to the Greece debt bubble that burst in the midst of 2012, but they went further to rank Jamaica’s debt to GDP as the highest in the Western Hemisphere – many patriots have begun to debunk this unacceptable fact. The editorial wasted the IMF and the international community for placing the creditors needs above the nation’s stability; although our elected leaders weren’t spared from the blame that was going around -- the paper was spot on with its criticism that “irresponsible stewardship” was the main factor for the Islands economic failures and not extensive borrowing (not to be excused).
The Bad Shepherds
It would be sensible but not correct to cast the net on the side of the Peoples National Party, as they brought with them an era of socialistic expenditure around the end of 1989, which continued for 18 years with a “poor people agenda” as to uplift the quality of life for blue-collar Jamaicans. But this came at a very expensive price, without adding enough jobs or cutting excess expenditure to sustain such expenditure. In fact, we were dropping manufacturing and productive sector jobs with the termination of factories and work centres, creating a flat-line GDP.
On the other hand, the Jamaica Labour Party has fallen by the wayside and, granted that they are the fiscal hawks of the Jamaican politico-sphere, this fact has not been of any support to their campaign to form a successful regime. The 1%, CEO, rich/big man profile of the JLP is in contrast to the social idiom of the general populace, placing them in a perpetual cycle of being the opposition with little hope for a reverse in the future. Focused on a power grab strategy to politicize every issue and offering no substantial alternative solution (as required from the opposition) unless it involves an over-sold election manifesto with general taglines, the JLP has successfully consecutively failed as opposition as many times as the PNP has been in administration.
As we proceed into 2013, with the future unknown and wildly expected, there is amounting despair and contempt for the government and the politicians that find safety and wealth in its nepotistic and protectionist bosom. There must be a turn away from a singular mind of tribal politics and towards one of ideology and ideals that are flexible for the purpose of agreeing to disagree.
Now is the time when we the people, the flock of a nation must create an atmosphere: where mediocre governance will not be accepted, where we get angry and heated when government fails to exert effort and where policy is actually policy and not just repeated talking points with loose schedules.
Prime Minister Simpson-Miller has the power to inspire the populace, hence her instructions must be: “Gather your families, friends and foes, this will take all our efforts combined as we prepare to rebuild a nation and seek to reenergize our economy from the foundation – up.”