If Jesus were gay,
would you tattoo him to your body?
hang him from your chest?
pray to him and worship the Son of Man?
Would you still praise him
after dying for your sins?
In the tiny district of Queensbury, St. Elizabeth, on Jamaica’s south coast, Christmas meant big-time celebrations, and preparation usually started right after the August 1st Emancipation holiday. We would know it when a brisk north wind whispered “Christmas coming,” and one or two farmers would build a lime kiln to produce white lime, a process that has faded from our culture.
In my own family, that legacy of oppression overcome weighed on my late father, Emmett Rice. He was a brilliant, proud man-an economics professor a senior official at the Treasury Department and the World Bank, and a Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. But his life of service came despite ferocious odds. My dad grew up between the wars in segregated South Carolina, and he never forgot the sting of separate and unequal. He served our country proudly in World War II, as an officer with the Tuskegee Airmen, but he forever resented the irony and inequity of fighting for freedom in a stubbornly segregated military. Dad had to learn to believe in himself by himself, to dismiss the taunting message of Jim Crow that he was somehow less of a man. He overcame that trauma-but he never forgot that he had to endure it. Throughout his career, Dad sought to lift up others so they could seize the opportunities he was almost denied.
In May of 2012, Jamaica’s debt stood at a staggering Jam$1.7 trillion (US $19.5 billion) translating to jam$600,000 for every Jamaican resident. In the interim, we are negotiating with the International Monetary Fund to borrow more money and to get a stamp of approval to do more borrowing. Besides, our import bill in 2011 was $6 billion, while we earned a paltry $2 billion from exports.
Jamaica has a long history of census taking with the first modern census being conducted in 1943. The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) recently compiled its findings for the 2011 Census and provided the following summary:
In regard to the pervasive crime and violence which is a plague on the society in Jamaica, what I would like to see is outright condemnation of heinous crimes from all sectors of society, particularly, the pressure groups. I would also like to see confidence restored in the justice system, essentially, the investigatory processes that are carried out by the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Resident Magistrate Courts, also, the Witness Protection Programme; this way those who know will be more willing to talk. It should not be that numbness, fear, delays set in and consciences can only be pricked by the offer of reward to assist in the arrest of the perpetrators of violent crimes rampant in our society.
2012 is the year of BIG ENERGIES; in other words, now is the best time to be your full potential. Most of us have skirted around what we really want to do with our lives or been downright afraid, hiding behind myriad of excuses. Well my friends, your life is all you came with. It is all you got to work with. And if not now when? Yes it is time to sing and be joyful. Show up fully in your life. Be unafraid to try… what do you have to lose? All apparent failures were only routes that didn’t work, try another route but TRY SOMETHING. This is the year to sing and give praise for your life. Help will always come to those who ask for it. LIVE IN JOY!
One could also argue that we cannot truly celebrate our independence because we are not! How else can we explain the national debt? How else can we explain why we import more than we export; and we can but we do not feed ourselves? How else can we explain why we still have only two reservoirs when our population has quadrupled since they were built and are purported to have massive cracks that robs them of their storage capacity? How else can we explain the high cost of producing electricity when we have a constant supply of wind and perpetually abundant sunshine that other countries long for? These are the fundamental areas of development for any country.
To develop a country, there is the need to begin with its most important resources which is the people. This is achieved through education, training and the establishment of strong moral standards, beginning with respect for life that is, one’s own life and the life of others.
The government has not been able to get the populace to embrace Vision 2030 because they have not properly delivered that vision to the masses. The average man in the street knows nothing about it. Any Soapbox would prove that.