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Posted on 07/31/2023 in Business

Addressing Key Issues in Jamaica: A Call for Improvement


Addressing Key Issues in Jamaica: A Call for Improvement

Things Jamaica Could Do Better
As a concerned citizen and business owner in Jamaica, I am writing this article to express my concerns and personal dissatisfaction about the country';s current state of governmental leadership. The Government, both leading and opposition Parties, are responsible for providing the people of Jamaica with effective and efficient administration. Unfortunately, several areas in overall performance leave a lot to be desired. You need to catch up! My name is Charles Clarke. Let me point out the issues I have with Jamaica today and what you can do to improve the quality of life for the citizens.


Employment or Lack-There-Of

First and foremost, you should do more to create jobs to stimulate economic growth. Jamaica';s unemployment rate is far too high. And this translates into great struggles for the citizens. They cannot make ends- meet, which also translates into varying poverty levels. The Government can do more to engender a more business-friendly environment supporting and encouraging private sector growth. And this will encourage them to invest more in helping with job creation. Hence, enabling the economy';s stability and stifling the well of poverty, we are now seeing. There needs to be that comprehensive will of the people to help the Government, as they cannot do everything on their own.

They need to help with civic duties like keeping their environment clean. Garbage disposal is not only a NSWMA responsibility, for heaven';s sake.

The purposeful willingness to pay taxes. Remember, taxes make the mill run. Without it not much of the social services can be effectively fulfilled.

Use mandated Truant Officers to ensure children go to school. hence, helping to stem the level of school dropouts and illiteracy.


Crime- Way Too High!
Secondly, I believe you are not doing enough to address crime and violence in Jamaica. The levels of crime and violence in our country are unacceptable. I think there is a lot more you can do to control this monster. But first, there must be a steadfast resolve to provide the police with the necessary resources. Technology has so much to offer in this regard. And I believe you are not making these tools available to help the police. A lot more use of technology must be the priority. Over the many decades, we have lost at least one-third of our citizens to crime. And, for me, this is not acceptable.

Steadfast Investments are to engage University students to study criminology and are crucial to the scope of investigating skills for the force. If needs be, resources are essential
to do overseas training and ensure their salaries are comparable to the skill sets they have acquired. Jamaica needs more trained Detectives to help to combat crime.
By engaging the private sector to partner with the Security Ministry for scholarships for training Detectives for the Police Force. Going into the Universities and Colleges and doing


Workshops to engage graduates.
Make the Police Force attractive for them to want to join and be part of the change Jamaica needs.
Vehicles can be gifted to the Jamaica Constabulary Force by the Private Sector as ways to help to improve on the fleet of vehicles. It is a shame to hear there are no service vehicles for the police to use when there is the need. Yet, most pointing fingers are the ones in need. If there is no collaboration, where will we be as a nation?

There is a need for training in Rangers and Forest police, using horses as part of their plan to police the terrain of our forests where many criminals disappear for months, eluding the police. It would help if you also ramped up the Forensic facilities across the island to have results available quicker for cases to be solved.

There is also the need to engage the youth in school programs and utilize the J.D.F.-Jamaica Defense Force. Make it a part of their contribution to nation-building to join for a bonded amount of years. And this, too, can help the youths get an education beyond High School while instilling discipline and self-control and learning a marketable skill there.


Education-Embracing Technology, Thinking Outside The Box!
Thirdly, you need to do more to address the education issue. The quality of education in Jamaica needs to be better than what is required for the market today. The technology revolution is here, and if we grasp this as where we are, our children will find it difficult by a lack of knowledge on how to navigate intelligently in the global space. So therefore, negotiating with the private sector to invest in the education system to cater to what is globally accepted. They are asking for skilled workers, an investment that will serve them and Jamaica for generations.

Utilize the H.E.A.R.T. Program by upgrading the skill sets in the curriculum. We must think outside the box! Integrate the H.E.A.R.T. Program with Secondary and High schools to absorb students interested in skills training so that they can be certified. At the same time, in the education sector. It would help if you did more to improve the country';s education quality. And this includes investing in programs that provide education and job training to those struggling while supporting children from low-income families.

When the H.E.A.R.T. Program started, it incentivized skilled graduates to gain employment in the private and public sectors. And for every graduate, the private sector employed

provides a 3% contribution to the program. Employers are contributing to the sustained workforce that is needed. Is this still being implemented? Now, this brings me to my fourth point of concern:


Job Creation
Fourthly, The above is the kind of job training and education programs we must apply as part of the grander scheme. Yet we are still thinking outside the box! All this is scope to job creation for our people.

Where the N.I.S. and T.R.N. applications are concerned, the Ministry of Labour should implement a dedicated workforce to have them provide these cards for students on their leaving High School. It should be a part of the school curriculum that they get these cards on graduating. It frees up the waiting time for them to stand in line applying for these cards after leaving school. And it also creates jobs for people.

Investing in retraining for unskilled young mothers and fathers is also a great need. Utilize the H.EA.R.T. Program to encourage them to get a skill. Train them to become a part of the Cottage Industry. Because one thing I do know...Jamaicans are one of the most creative people there are! And it does not have to be in Craft. Once there are jobs for Jamaicans, it will lessen poverty.


Health Care
Fifthly, I will admit there are the N.H.F. and J.A.D.E.P. medical plans and clinics across the island. And I will also recognize the Minister of Health is working with resources available to upgrade the health sector. However, there is more that needs doing. We train doctors, nurses, and skilled medical staff to be absorbed overseas when they are needed here in Jamaica. The Health Ministry must advertise and make the sector more attractive by providing these skilled workers with the necessary pay packages and benefits. We must advance into our Independence to keep our doctors and nurses from First World countries.

And another thing about that...I don';t consider Jamaica a Third World Country! We need to stop downgrading ourselves to this classification. Jamaica and Jamaicans have contributed much to the world to improve societal growth. So why are we still thinking we are the third world? Improving services in the health sector must be a collaboration.

Members of the Private sector should and can invest in donations of special medical services wards and facilities within the Parish they do business. This is not only for the Government to do. They should also help in increasing the Ambulance Fleet within the sector. Poor people cannot afford paying the thousands of dollars for private ambulance service, yet be mindful of dealing with medical concerns. If there is that budget yearly for facilitating ambulance donations for hospitals, and clinics, more lives would be saved for getting medical help more efficiently.
Beds, miscellaneous items can be also a service of collaboration.


Using What We Have for Nation Building
Jamaica has most of the healing herbs in the world on the island. We must invest in research and make our medicines. Why must we depend on other countries when we have skilled scientists here? Remember Canasol? We are still waiting on the F.D.A. to approve this drug when it is proven by our scientists to be effective in treating eye diseases. Now, why are we doing this? Invest in drug research, and expand our power to afford our people better health care by using what God has blessed us with! And while doing so, continue to upgrade infrastructure and build. And this leads me to my sixth concern, poor infrastructure.


Infrastructural Issues

You need to do more to improve the country';s infrastructure. Jamaica';s roads are living beyond the sixties. We are in some communities using dirt tracks. They are still in the horse and buggy era of roads; why? It is the responsibility of the Government to install proper roads across the island. And it would help if you did not use road improvement as a political football to get votes. It is your civic responsible for providing its citizens with roads, light, and water.

Not to mention transportation. The J.U.T.C. is the best we have to date for public transit. However, much more can be done by the Government. They can revitalize the train system more efficiently to aid in traffic gridlock. Our road network does need a massive upgrade. And one way to deal with that is to build overpasses. The road network system must go beyond ground construction.

Bridges are another thing we must address. Some of the bridges still in use are over 200 years old. Why!? Jamaican';s safety depends on proper roads and facilities for safe travel.

Highway maintenance is another issue. Driving on the roads with forestry growing out into the roadway is an accident waiting to happen. Facilitate the Parish Councils with proper funding and workers to clean our streets.

And don';t wait to get me started on our gutters and drains. We used to clean them decades ago! What has happened to the programs that the then Roads and Works used to undertake? I remember we used to have scheduled washing of our roads decades ago. Why can';t we go back to this system?


Garbage Collection Workers
Upgrade the garbage collection programs. The sanitation workers should be paid good money, health benefits, and pension. They keep our roads and communities clean of garbage and debris, not to mention dead animals. It is a thankless job, but someone has to do it! So, they should get adequate remunerations. It becomes a health crisis when garbage goes uncollected. And this is nothing to think about. It takes the Government';s will and also the will of the people to appreciate that this is crucial! The quality of life for Jamaicans does start with housekeeping. Jamaica is an extension of our homes.


Environmental Factors
Seventh, the environment sustains life. Without proper environmental investments, we will be experiencing global issues unfolding globally. More green spaces are needed. You need to do more to address the subject of the environment. Jamaica has a diverse and fragile ecosystem; you should do more to protect and preserve it.

Seek ways to integrate our trees, especially adult trees and greenery, into the housing and commercial development plan. Cutting down the trees and destroying the natural infrastructure will take decades to replace. And unless we invest in some national replanting endeavours, we will continue to experience floods, landslides and more. So instead, invest in trees that take a shorter time to grow, for example, Bamboo.

Investigate Bamboo, and you will realize it doesn';t only multiply; it binds the soil because of its root network, cleans the air of unwanted carbon dioxide and replenishes needed oxygen. And it is biodegradable. We can use it for charcoal, buildings, and of course, making furniture and flooring. There are many uses for Bamboo that can facilitate Green energy.


Now Here Comes the Hard Hitting Topics!

Addressing Corruption
Eight, you need to do more to address the issue of corruption. Whether in Government or outside. There must be legislation to deal with this monster in the room effectively. It should not be that there is one law for a particular set of people, and there is another for others. Prison is prison! You break the law, and there is a place to go. Corruption is just as bad as criminal work and the gangs we seek to control by longer prison time for the crimes committed.

Jamaica has a long history of corruption, And it is time for the Government and its people to do something by stronger laws and regulations to stamp it out from our space effectively. It will open our doors to more investors.


Human Rights In Jamaica
I can understand the voice of the Human Rights agencies seeking to defend. However, we must keep sight of why we have these agencies. They are there for everyone. Bias should not be in any part of the infrastructure where people';s lives and quality of living are infringed upon because of lack of sight.

Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, rich or poor, employed or not, Jamaica';s leaders and Government must take steps to promote gender equality and address the issues facing women, such as discrimination and violence. Men also come under discrimination, so there must be a balance. Any criminal act done by anyone must be dealt with equitably by these Human Rights agencies. Their working together with the relevant agencies and the Law does ensure equality.


People With Special Needs
The Government as well as the Human Rights Agencies must seek to change the mindset of the populace concerning people with special needs. Our blind, deaf, wheelchair users and others must be integrated into our society. They are valuable contributors to this nation; we should treat them with respect and honour. I can tell you people with special needs are more eager to learn and work than some non-disabled people, and this is not just in Jamaica. So, the Government, public and private sectors, need to create welcoming spaces for growth for them.


Renewable Energy
Jamaica has an abundance of Sun, Wind and Water for us not to take advantage of them. The must be the push for investing significantly in renewable energy sources for Jamaica. We are venturing into using electric cars, and the monthly light bills for households are staggering. And not to mention the hidden taxes that come with these bills. We are dragging our feet in this regard. We should be leading the Caribbean in infrastructure and energy resources, yet we are spending Billions of dollars to buy fossil fuels yearly. Why?

We must get back to the drawing board and encourage our bright minds in the sector and universities to devise ways to ease this burden. We should be looking at long-term growth and sustained energy source investment. Jamaica';s energy sector requires reform.


Food Security
Food Security is another concern of mine. Jamaica';s food security needs much investment in programs to promote sustainable agriculture and improve access to nutritious food for all Jamaicans. Our need for more investment in technology for agricultural growth is a considerable concern. Investing in specialized farm programs in Technical and High schools is the way to go. Therein you can educate young men and women on the viability of farming. If we cannot grow to produce to feed the nation, we will be forever buying from countries that do.


Disaster Preparedness
Are we in agreement that Jamaica needs to catch up in establishing an effective Disaster preparedness action plan? I hope we are because this is also one of my concerns. We have survived many hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes and landslides to know we need to do better as a Government and a people to lessen the effects of these natural occurrences.

There are some things we can implement, and one is infrastructure. We must build better buildings, lay better roads, plant trees to preserve the soil and stop dumping in our rivers and gullies. In addition, our collaboration in ensuring disaster shelters get upgraded so we use less of our schools and churches as priority options. Mark you, I am not saying they are not to be options; I am saying we need to expand our facilities. We also need to implement a Disaster preparedness fund so we can furnish these shelters with the items required to help the people who will get displaced for some time.
 
Education is also an essential factor in our plans. We must have sustained education in schools, use of social media and word of mouth to ensure Jamaicans know and understand what to do. Our people need to play a part in our safety and preparedness too.

The Emergency Services must be invested in to improve disaster preparedness and response efforts to ensure the country prepares for emergencies. Because this is a national effort, and the Government is the pilot for flying this plane. Strategic Implementation is vital. Call on the private Sector to help in this regard. Disaster affects everyone, It is not just a poverty issue.


International Relations
The Government of Jamaica is moving to establish more and better international relations with nations. However, we must cement ties with our Caribbean neighbours first. Then, we go farther afield. When we live well with our neighbours, we are sure of security within our borders and our helping them.

Jamaica must also ensure better comprehensive diplomatic relations for economic growth. The Tourism sector is one of many things we have to offer. However, we must continue to think outside the proverbial BOX!


Conclusion
Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, is known for its beautiful beaches, culture, and music. However, we are facing many challenges that our Government must address. Nevertheless, the future is bright for Jamaica once we never stop looking at our potential as a nation. God is smiling on us as an island nation, concerned about emancipating from the pattern of lack. Our progress and growth, not only financially, spiritually, morally and intellectually, will help us move forward.

Jamaica';s leaders and leaders in other sectors have a lot of work to do to address the country';s many challenges. And, by God';s grace, we will make it. Investing in our Christian roots, poverty reduction, crime prevention, education, healthcare, and other key areas will give Jamaica a better future. We must not forget our National Anthem, a heartfelt prayer to God for our nation, Jamaica.

Jamaica';s National Anthem As reported by the JIS

The Jamaican National Anthem
Eternal Father, bless our Land,
Guard us with Thy Mighty Hand,
Keep us free from evil powers,
Be our light through countless hours.
To our Leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.
Teach us true respect for all,
Stir response to duty';s call, strengthen us the weak to cherish,
Give us vision lest we perish.
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.

In September 1961, the announcement that the competition for the words of the National Anthem would be judged in the first instance. The successful script would then be published, and a contest for the music after that. Nearly one hundred entries for the words were received, and it was subsequently announced on March 17 that the competition for the lyrics of the National Anthem would close on Saturday, March 31, 1962.

A Joint Committee of the Houses of Parliament made the final selection. Members remained divided between two possible choices until Thursday, July 19, 1962, when the large majority of the House, after the eager debate, approved the resolution which was in, and the version previously heard in the lobby selected as suitable. The Anthem is the creative work of four persons, the late Rev. and Hon. Hugh Sherlock, OJ, O.B.E., the late Hon. Robert Lightbourne, O.J., the late Mapletoft Poulle and Mrs. Poulle (now Mrs. Raymond Lindo).

If our Government back then could sit together and decide to adopt this prayer for our Nation, Jamaica, it is crucial we as a Nation band together in this time 2023, 61 years going, to take this Great nation forward, with God';s help.




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