Matthew down, crime to go

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -


IHAD a most in­ter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion with a rel­a­tive on Tues­day morn­ing, af­ter it be­came clear that we were out of harm’s way where Matthew was con­cerned. He’s not a church­man, and is un­apolo­get­i­cally se­lec­tive in what he ac­cepts and pur­ports. His state­ment, how­ever, pre-empted a lot of what we’ll be hear­ing in church this com­ing week­end, “The high pres­sure ridge dem neh jus come suh; God sen dem fi tek weh Mat­tew.” His con­vic­tion was such that even if I dis­agreed, there’d be no con­vinc­ing him oth­er­wise.

I don’t know if any­one else won­dered about how, from ev­ery in­di­ca­tion, God an­swered our col­lec­tive prayer to di­vert the path of Matthew in such an awe­some way, and He seems not as forth­com­ing with the ex­tin­guish­ing of the fires of crime and cor­rup­tion that are scourg­ing our beloved coun­try. Why is it so dif­fer­ent?

The easy an­swer is, while chang­ing the course of a hur­ri­cane only re­quires the co­op­er­a­tion of the winds and rains, curb­ing crime craves hu­man com­pli­ance. And therein lies the chal­lenge – that com­pli­ance is not forth­com­ing. We should know that God will not cir­cum­vent the full en­gage­ment of our will in any kind of re­form that is to take place with us. The ex­is­tence and use of our will is the very essence of the god­like­ness with which we were cre­ated. We choose the course our lives take and what we do. And it is in this sense that we can choose to com­ply with our Cre­ator’s will for our lives (free of crime and cor­rup­tion). Crime then ex­ists, not be­cause God is not in­ter­ested to in­ter­vene, but be­cause we lack the will to change.

I’ve won­dered about this scam­ming phe­nom­e­non that is per­vad­ing Ja­maica with a wor­ry­ingly in­creas­ing rate in re­cent times. What is the cause of this? Might it be re­lated to an in­creas­ing sense of hope­less­ness in ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chang­ing na­tional for­tunes, be­cause those at the head of the stream do give us a strong sense of in­sin­cer­ity, dis­hon­esty and cor­rup­tion? Here, per­cep­tion is the only fact worth fac­tor­ing. There must be a de­lib­er­ate, demon­strated com­mit­ment to trans­parency at ev­ery level of gover­nance. You have to won­der about the ut­ter­ance of a se­nior mem­ber of one of the main po­lit­i­cal par­ties re­gard­ing kick­backs re­ceived from com­pa­nies seek­ing to do busi­ness in Ja­maica, where it was ob­vi­ous that in some in­stances due dili­gence was not done, but per­haps just enough to re­ceive that non­re­fund­able fee. With no one named, fact is not im­por­tant, per­cep­tion is all that it would take for in­di­vid­u­als to feel that they’d bet­ter take care of them­selves too.

In so many in­stances, we are the an­swers to our prayers, which means that we must of­ten change in or­der to get the change we de­sire. So then, more than just ar­tic­u­lat­ing a prayer, we must be pre­pared to DO some­thing about crime and cor­rup­tion in our coun­try. Let’s men­tor more, of­fer more fi­nan­cial sup­port to schools and other so­cial es­tab­lish­ments, build bet­ter re­la­tion­ships with the po­lice, hold our lead­ers and our­selves more ac­count­able, not just go with the flow, but change the game. This is not al­ways easy, but it would sure make for a bet­ter Ja­maica, land we love. Let’s do it! CHARLES EVANS Col­lege of Busi­ness and Man­age­ment North­ern Caribbean Univer­sity

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