With all of the wars, long-term religious and ethnic skirmishes, famine and disease, the untamed forces of nature, and prices of basic foods galloping outside of the economic reach of the world’s poorest, this globe is in serious turmoil.
People like Opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller may not be aware that Americans, the richest constituency of people on this earth, are gearing up to pay in excess of US$7.00 ($500) per gallon for petrol when summer rolls out its merciless heat in a few months.
Mrs Simpson Miller is of course a politician, and as we all know, politicians tell the truth only when there is a political advantage to be gained. Recently, she has been chanting on the plight of the poor, a very real plight, but of course she has couched it for the ignorant, her most ardent following. She has even gone as far as to suggest that people are now buying bread “by the slice”, as if this is a phenomenon which has suddenly appeared on the Jamaican socio-economic landscape.
Sad to say, in my time, people have been buying “piece a bread” from the 1950s when I was a child until the present. But as I said before, she is a politician led less by a real concern for the poor and more by the votes from them to provide her with power.
If the ignorant, the poorly educated and the diehard PNP have grown more hungry since the September 2007 general elections, then it is a fact which Prime Minister Golding needs to deal with. Chomping at the bit as she expects a snap election, the Opposition leader has been attracting sizeable crowds in the various communities she has toured. The ruling JLP administration cannot feel any ease at that fact.
As much as Opposition leader Simpson Miller is blooded in the distributionist policies of the 1970s, the present world scenario of exorbitant prices for grain crops may force upon the world stage a whole host of countries making crash programme-like policies and subsidies not just as emergency stop-gap measures but as a part of regular government policy for at least the next five years. In this regard, Portia’s backward socialist policy may just be what is needed in these times of global socio-economic turmoil.
Let me now turn to the prime minister and his “Not in my Cabinet” response to a sharp if somewhat socially myopic question from the BBC’s HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur. First, most of these First-World journalists assume that we in the Caribbean are basically savages, especially where it relates to homosexuality. Sackur saw it as nothing dramatic for a male homosexual to be a part of any Cabinet in any democracy in any part of the world. And he may well have been right.
Instead of Golding answering, “Not in my Cabinet”, I would have preferred him to say, “Not openly in my Cabinet”, or “No homosexual activists in my Cabinet”.
Knowing that his real constituency was not in London, England, but at home in Jamaica, Golding was forced to play to his Jamaican audience, most of whom find male homosexuality nasty, sick and repugnant.
Recently, Dr Orville Taylor, appearing on TVJ’s All Angles, echoed the exact sentiments in an article I sent to the Observer’s evening paper Chat! where I write a regular Friday column. Essentially, I said that powerful countries like the US and other European economic giants know whom to push and prod. The US is forced to do business with, say, China, while ignoring its abysmal human rights record, including homosexual issues.
Jamaica has distinguished itself over the years by walking the world with a begging bowl. By virtue of that, we are fair game for First-World countries, which seem all too eager to ram their homosexual agenda down our throats.
That said, we need to change the archaic buggery laws if even to placate these powerful international associations and countries. If two men choose to retire to the confines of a closed room and even take along two ducks and a rabbit, what business of mine should it be what they do to each other? Of course, the animal rights activists might have something to say about the poor, defenceless rabbit and duck.
Seriously though, Golding cannot say with certainty that there are no homosexuals in his Cabinet.
It is rumoured that the last PNP government had at very least two men who were homosexuals. Golding may have been hurling barbs at the PNP from across the seas with his “Not in my Cabinet”. Because I still have friends in the JLP Cabinet, I can say with certainty that too many of the key men there are burdened with an excess of testosterone. Now, if only they could channel that hormone, that energy into good, hard work not of the nocturnal type…
MacMillan’s baptism of fire
Is Colonel Trevor MacMillan the right man for the job of minister of national security? And is anyone the right one? I am certain that he never thought that violent crime would pause and stare at him as he took the oath of office. Not only has it not sought a recess, but with two policemen recently cut down in the heart of one of the most violent communities in Jamaica – Trench Town – which encompasses Arnett Gardens and Rema, it seems to be saying to him, “MacMillan bwoy, a wi run dis.”
In the heat of the April 1999 riots, I was out on the streets linking with the lumpen elements who were bent on destruction. A number of things struck me then. The riot began in JLP pockets and as it spread, the JLP attempted to claim authorship by providing the mob with food, drinks and other support. The riot was about gas price increases, but most of those burning, looting and blocking roads were idlers and the plainly criminal.
To these people, the riot was one big party and a three-day festival of sorts. The point I am making is that we Jamaicans have never become sufficiently angry about any national matter to take to the streets in droves. The worst has happened in that we have become inured to the excessively high murder rate and the ferocity of the crimes. As the rate increases, we lock down our ability and will to respond beyond wide-eyed talk on steel-grilled verandahs.
Ten MacMillans and a few dozen more imports from England will not solve our runaway crime problem. Our people will have to become mad as hell to respond in a great uprising. That I am not expecting anytime soon because too many Jamaicans are “surface thinkers”, that is, we are really a nation of pretty dull-witted people. We endorse poor leadership, and in September 2007 we came pretty close to rejecting good leadership. We have no idea what we are about.