A Letter to the Prime Minister of Jamaica
Dear Madam Prime Minister,
I have never had the pleasure of being in your company, to encounter the radiance I have heard spoken of so often. Put simply, you don’t know me, and you perhaps don’t even care that I exist. Still, I thought it important to reach out to you and share something I’m not sure your advisers have shared with you over these last three years of your administration. I hope to be read and understood simply as a Jamaican. It is my abiding love for this country that has brought me to this point. I’m undeterred by reports suggesting that you don’t listen to the news or read the papers; I believe this will find its way to you.
Prime Minister, I’m disappointed, frustrated, hurt and fed up. But I’m not disappointed in you because of any perceived notions of incompetence or a lack of intelligence, but because I believe you hold within your power the unique authority to really change this country, not just talk about it, but really change it. Prime Minister, you have not done that, and you seem hell bent on refusing to do that. You have at your disposal vast reserves of political capital. Why wouldn’t you expend just a fraction to get us on the right path as a country?
Prime Minister, I have watched with immense sadness as more and more of my peers lose faith in the democratic and political processes of our country. They do not want to vote, they do not want to be bothered and they do not want to care. They didn’t get to that point overnight, ma’am. Many of them are tired – tired of the same old, same old. They are tired of the half-truths and whole lies. They are tired of being disrespected, because party loyalty seems to mean more to you than admittedly vague concepts of transparency, accountability and good governance. But Prime Minister, I pray you consider what will happen when those who should care no longer care. Where will we be as a country? What will happen when an entire generation is lost? I submit that we deserve a bit more from you, ma’am. I ask you to consider that our current system gives us no option but to rely on your sense of decency and of right and wrong and so I beg you, Prime Minister, change this course. Find it in your heart to do what is right. Find the courage to stand up to your party loyalists when they do wrong. If you refuse to do it for your sake, then do it for the sake of the thousands of young people who are giving up on you, on politics and on Jamaica. Do it for us.
By this point you must have rolled your eyes a thousand times, but just before you dismiss me, ma’am, permit me to highlight the fact that your decision regarding the NHT’s Board of Directors is a major blow to our confidence in our country’s democratic processes. Prime Minister, I felt anger and shame like I have never known when it became clear you had no intention of listening to the voices of those of us who only asked that you give us a group of people we could have confidence in. Admittedly, we are poor and we are weak, but we deserve respect, ma’am. These people have power over our money, money some of us work very hard to earn. Is it not reasonable for us to humbly advise you when we think they should be replaced? Is it not also reasonable for you to respect our wishes in that regard, ma’am? Are we asking for too much?
Prime Minster, my heart is full. I am begging you on behalf of the thousands that your Minister refers to as a “articulate minority”, I feel I have no choice but to beg you to change. Please restore the hope that is being stolen from my generation. Give us a reason to feel it is worth staying, worth believing. Prime Minister, please. Do what is right. Have the courage to do what so many others before you have not done. Please…
Citizen of Jamaica.