Jamaica Blog Day concentrates the efforts of the vibrant national blogging community on one theme each year; last year we shone a light on the all too important issue of police abuses, and this year we are called upon to examine the debate between environmental preservation and development. This theme is particularly relevant in light of the government’s stated intention to develop a port and logistics hub in the Portland Bight Protected Area. Predictably, an overwhelming amount of Jamaicans are suddenly environmentalists, decrying the government as greedy, short sighted and any other emotionally charged description that will grab a headline. I’m particularly concerned that most, if not all, the arguments coming from our recently converted environmentalists are emotionally charged. There is a kind of reckless refusal to accept that the extraordinary economic challenges we face as a country necessitates an extraordinary response. It’s unfair and disingenuous to characterize our politicians as greedy when they seek to do the job the people elected them to do. This present government was largely elected with a mandate to address the dire economic situation facing the country. We can quantify the value and effect of the construction of the port and hub on our economic sustainability, what exactly is the practical and tangible value of saving the Portland Bight Area from industrial development?
Editor’s Note : The views expressed below are not my own. Javed Jaghai returns to Veritas with his take on Jamaica’s current political realities. Read. Reflect. Comment.
Jamaican politicians may be terrible leaders, but they are masters of political strategy. They understand our culture very well. They know how to appease us, they know how to mistreat us (and get away with it), and they know that we are familiar enough with each other to privilege loyalty and character over intellect and effectiveness.
Our past and present politicians must be held responsible for the state of Jamaica today. By the time the stalwarts who have served since my birth die, their obituaries will tell of how long they served and how dedicated they were to public service but will say nothing of how poorly they governed.
Jamaica is a very small island with a correspondingly small population. The interconnected webs of social and familial ties breeds familiarity, which, I believe, violates and degrades traditional means of guaranteeing accountability. We trust our elected representatives and we continue ‘fi gi dem a bly’ even though their record of accomplishment speaks volumes to their incompetency. When they consistently perform less than satisfactorily and especially when they fuck up, we excuse their ineptitude with superficial considerations like their so-called ‘good moral character’ and ‘commitment to the community’.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed below are not my own. Javed Jaghai makes his debut on Veritas discussing the burden of homophobia on gays and lesbians in spite of their contributions to national development. Read. Reflect. Comment.
As described in a recent front page Gleaner report (“GAYS WREAK HAVOK”), a small group of maladjusted gay men in New Kingston are now infamous for their lawlessness. “Well-thinking Jamaicans” commenting on the issue are alarmed for “If Jamaica becomes more tolerant of homosexuality, THEY will wreak havok on OUR nation because this is how THEY behave.” This “us” versus “them” dichotomy implies that all gay men are miscreants. Furthermore, it discursively locates ALL gay Jamaicans at the periphery of the boundary of citizenship.