Jesus said the “the poor you will always have” and he was right, but only if we do nothing about it. Poverty is manmade, and as such can be eliminated by us. To do so, we must understand it and design a system to eliminate it. Poverty is a derivative of a combined political, monetary and education system.
How we govern our self as a people determines who we educate our children as a nation; and that education determines if we will be a poor or a rich country. Jamaica is a poor country because we have a poor system of governance – from politics to economics to education.
Our first leaders did not hate, but admired their colonial masters. They admired the education, political and monetary systems that the elites of Europe and America used to control the poor and working class in their country. They failed to study how to reverse the psychological, sociological and economical impact of slavery, colonialism and crony capitalism.
Our people were thus led to believe that political independence would naturally lead to economic independence. Their early leaders adopted an education system that focused on rote learning and classicism, instead of on analytical thinking, practical problem solving and productivity gains. We learnt how to read, write and recite, but not how to think, analyze and create.
The next step our road to poverty was the adoption of a political system that divided our people into two ignorant camps that fought each other for scarce partisan political benefits and spoils. This trained us to look to government for handouts and special favours instead of to our own honest efforts. Thus we became intensely partisan and increasingly unproductive. We expended countless hours on meaningless political debates as opposed to engaging in productive enterprise.
These conditions made it easy for us to be led astray by any foreign master that could offer us grants, aids and other handouts to keep up our charade of independence. The handouts were then used to control our political leaders in whom we trusted and who gave themselves almost unchecked powers by way of a poorly designed constitution.
What we call our constitution was not really developed after careful deliberation about our past and a thoughtful design for the future. It merely reflected a system that the slave master thought was best for us, and which our leaders exploited to their own benefits as their representatives. The masses, as they called us, were mostly illiterate, poor and unaware of what their constitution said or meant.
We followed the political path placed before us, straight into a monetary system that was also designed for us instead of by us. This political system and its accompanying monetary system are the root cause of our poor education system that results in our poverty.
The political system divided us so that the elite among us might exploit us, while the monetary system is used to deceive us so that our foreign masters may continue to extract the benefits of our labour by way of irresponsible loans and interest charges. In short, we are living in democratic slavery.
The only way that 200 whites could control 1,000,000 black slaves was to divide the slaves with classicism; drive fear into them with acts of violence; and then keep them uneducated.
This is still the way to keep a people under control in a modern society: divide them with partisan politics; make them fearful of political victimization; and give them a fake education that keeps them ignorant of what is really being done to them. It has worked effectively around the world, and Jamaica is no exception.
To fix the problem, we must completely revamp the political system and monetary system. This requires a uniting of the people by eliminating partisan politics. It means removing the fear of victimization and violence from our political system by eliminating political corruption with effective checks and balances. And most importantly, it means eliminating ignorance with an education system that focuses on building thinking, analyzing and practical problem solving skills.
These we must do and create our own renaissance period – a time of rethinking and redesigning this land that we love. That is the purpose of the UIC as we seek to bring out the best in our people.
Joseph L Patterson
Founder and President
United Independents' Congress