No one ballsy enough to im­pose or­der

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDITOR, Sir:

EVENTS OVER the last week have pre­sented many lessons and rev­e­la­tions. What I par­tic­u­larly find dis­heart­en­ing is the ex­po­sure of the fis­sures in the so­cial and eco­nomic con­struct of our so­ci­ety that were white­washed and made to look ac­cept­able over the years.

First, we are thank­ful that we were spared the wrath of Hur­ri­cane Matthew. The ques­tion is, what if we had not? A reg­u­lar heavy shower of rain in Kingston and ur­ban St An­drew ex­poses so many in­ad­e­qua­cies. Lack of proper plan­ning is fore­most.

Ap­proved and un­ap­proved de­vel­op­ments are ob­vi­ously un­der­taken with­out re­gard for proper disposal of flood wa­ter. Neigh­bours con­struct con­crete bound­ary walls trap­ping run-off in their neigh­bours’ prop­erty and houses are flooded, caus­ing se­vere dis­lo­ca­tion and the per­pet­ual cry to po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives for as­sis­tance.

Sin­gle-par­ent fam­ily res­i­dences are de­mol­ished and re­placed with multi-fam­ily apart­ment and town house com­plexes, ar­eas once cov­ered by veg­e­ta­tion, are now al­most en­tirely cov­ered by con­crete. Where does the run-off go? On to road­ways, which are not prop­erly con­structed in the first place and into al­ready in­ad­e­quate drains.

Drains are sup­pos­edly cleaned and the de­bris is left on the sides of the gul­lies and drains, to be washed back into the said gul­lies af­ter the first heavy shower of rain. Who is held re­spon­si­ble? No one! We hear talk of not tak­ing care of the poor and the op­pressed. Why are so many in this state, and why wait un­til a hur­ri­cane threat­ens for us to show the un­der­belly of our so­ci­ety? Re­sources that could have been used to im­prove, in a sus­tain­able way, the lives of the vul­ner­a­ble have been squan­dered. So poor peo­ple who are left to live in hov­els emerge like wet rats from their flooded abodes and make the news yet again.

We talk about af­ford­able hous­ing to the point of bore­dom. If such talk could trans­late into de­cent, safe, le­gal and af­ford­able hous­ing, Ja­maica would not have a hous­ing prob­lem. Where is the will? Is it that some of us like the sta­tus quo, so the poor and op­pressed will al­ways be with us?

When, as a peo­ple, we have lost ba­sic ci­vil­ity, pride and de­cency, no amount of passing IMF tests will trans­form our so­ci­ety. Some men uri­nate any­where, any­time. Garbage is thrown any­where and ev­ery­where. In­dis­ci­pline on our roads is ram­pant. Cor­rup­tion is rife. Scam­mers abound. Law and or­der is side­lined. Sec­tions of Kingston and other towns are squalid.

Ja­maicans, we need to take a stand. Hold our­selves re­spon­si­ble for our fu­ture and hold ac­count­able those man­ag­ing the af­fairs of our coun­try. There is much hope. Many great and won­der­ful things are happening, but the ugly we can­not af­ford to ig­nore. ROSE­MARIE BROWN rose­marie.brown1@gmail.com

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