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Whose Responsibility is it? #1

I was urged/instructed by a friend of some forty six years that I should engage public interest by writing a series of articles pertaining to the topic above, and to seek to engage well-thinking citizens on the subjects addressed.

The background discussion was bemoaning the fact that too many discussions take place on verandas, bar stools, barbershops, hairdressers, and similar places, and they all seem to focus on complaints. Even worse was the fact that in spite of some immediate passion, few decide to cooperate in addressing these over-ventilated failed schemes, and blame is generally misdirected at a nondescript politician and the general governance system.

There is never any admission of personal culpability or responsibility, and certainly we absolve ourselves from taking any action. Another round of drinks please, and let’s forget the problem. So the question arises: who will take collective responsibility, or even who will take personal responsibility? How can we moan and groan about poor governance and yet not register to vote? How can we expect Jamaica to represent us when we are treated badly by foreign immigration officials and yet be unwilling to participate in the important affairs of our own country?

We often speak about how the country is in debt and the dollar is devaluing, yet we take no action to earn foreign exchange for ourselves. It is simply too easy to import and sell than to manufacture and export, but we expect roads to be repaired, squatters to be removed, houses to be available for purchase at cheap prices, and yet we shouldn’t be ticketed for littering. Such flawed logic.

We want potable water at all times, but we throw away plastic items, garbage, human faeces, and unmentionables, into our waterways, drainage, and other vital systems that secure our well-being. Then we ask - what is the government doing about this?

We take unregistered passenger vehicles and when there is a mishap we expect the government to provide medical expenses and disability compensation. We also expect that the government has adequate insurance on registered vehicles to offset claims against agencies and public bodies, even as we recognise the constraints of the IMF on expenditures.

Personal responsibility is at an all-time low, and dependency is the order of the day. The government awaits foreign prescriptions for problems that they both know about and helped to create; the private sector awaits prescriptions from the politicians that they say (privately) have no answers; the individuals await prescriptions from a system that they know is moribund. The only proactive citizens are lining up for a visa to countries that will not welcome them, or may even treat them as second class residents.

The rest of us simper in seeming obedience to the political Pavlov’s Dog Syndrome that demands blind acceptance. We load buses to go to political meetings while having no job, nor the hope of a job. Yet we will take no action to ensure our own well-being.

I contend that the first line of defence is ourselves. To protect the breadwinners; to protect our minors; to protect our own elderly; and to take the responsibility of ensuring that we are protected. The proliferation of ostentatious living does little to protect the lives of our loved ones. The expensive vehicles and inadequate medical insurance do not seem to be compatible bedfellows.

The decisions going forward are in our own hands. Take personal responsibility for our individual actions, and participate in collective actions. The lives we save may be those of ourselves and our loved ones.

More to follow.

Executive Insights
From the Desk of James Moss- Solomon
Executive in Residence, MSBM
March 31, 2015
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