January 1, the day when the entire world makes resolutions . Really cannot blame them. After looking back at the previous year it is a natural human want to improve on where you have fallen short. Sad thing is – resolutions always stay where they were conceived, either in the euphoria of the mind over a glass of champagne , with friends having careless banter, or in response to other people’s resolution just to make you feel as part of the in crowd. Our mind is never at a place of deep thought when we make our resolutions neither are they achievable and so they usually fail or fall short . Where there is no grit, it won’t stick.
Resolutions are a personal commitment to self. It is paying good diligence to your time on this journey called Life and it gives you good discipline when it is used properly. As we roll out a new year I begin to wonder about my homeland and trying to figure out what resolutions can be made for my country. After all my country is a living entity of 3 million people in a beautiful place called the Caribbean. But whiter Jamaica? Where do we go in 2014? The number 2014 defies our understanding of how the world has come of age and how fast it is moving.
Jamaica, like most places cannot boast of 2013 as a year of forward movement for its people, its economy and its cultural lifestyle. Yes there have been strides but as the athlete will tell you strides are like elegant footsteps on the way to accomplishing a goal. We cannot meet the goal if we don’t push and enlighten ourselves. We cannot meet our goals if we don’t accelerate with energy , power and form. In other words, if we are intent that our warm ups are good enough to take us to the finish line , then we must not be surprised when everyone has passed us and we are a distant last. This intent has been with us since we got our independence. There is this unspoken truth that because we live on an island we must slow down, live on our own pace. Living on an island means one thing here in Jamaica and that is to take life for granted.
Jamaica is not an island unto itself. We are part of the world and the world is and has changed. If we could only educate ourselves to that fact. If I were stranded in Jamaica a book I would certainly have is “How to build a country, not an Island.” Our knowledge in Jamaica is a little island in a great ocean of knowledge and progress. We must change our mentality. We must change our perceived perception. Strides are good. But strides are like our beating heart. It reminds us that we are still alive. Lets move Jamaica, lets jump, lets sprint, lets throw as far as we can. Our island is a sea of ignorance. Being an island does not make us any less than other progressive nations. England is an island. England never allowed its size to be its reality. Neither should we Jamaica. We are better than an island. So here are my resolutions for Jamaica. We cannot quit on these either. We cannot afford to do nothing.
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. (Thomas Jefferson)
1. We resolve to ……BE ON TIME
Jamaica Time is a tourism cliché used to attract guest to our island. It is meant for our guests to slow down., not for us to use it as part of our lifestyle and culture. TIME is money Jamaica. We lose it, we can never get it back. Stop this nonsense . Get up and be on time.
2. We resolve to ……BE CLEAN
Every corner of our cities, roads, towns, beaches are full of human garbage. If we don’t keep our island clean, then we have not left the plantation and our parents and ancestors have not taught us anything. Its called pride Jamaica. We keep our homes clean but outside our doors it’s a garbage war zone. Cleanliness is an attitude made powerful by action. If you don’t believe cleanliness can move your country a zillion miles forward, ask the Swiss.
3. We resolve to ……RESPECT- ITS NOT A WORD..ITS AN ACTION.
A lack of respect usually means the person has no respect for himself either. Self respect leads to self-discipline. Respect our laws, each other, our visitors, our creativity and our culture. When we do, that is Real Power. A country without respect and discipline is a country afloat with no wind to direct its sail.
4. We resolve to ……BE LIBERATED BY EDUCATION
We promote sex in everything we do , degrading it to the lowest common human activity, in the things we wear and say, liberalism in how we drive, in how and where we live our lives, in how we do whatever we want when we want is not the sign of a liberated and civilized country. Let us instead be liberated by our education, not by our indiscipline.
5. We resolve to…….PRACTICE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Jamaica has a new word in its vocabulary..its NO, usually said with a stern face of robotic mechanism and eyes looking away staring at the floor as if you the customer is there, at the feet of the messenger. Imagine the power of the word YES in everything we do and the power of the word NO accompanied with a positive alternative. Jamaica would be welcoming its 3 millionth visitor for 2013 and creating a society of doers , not followers.
6. We resolve to ……HAVE COURAGE
Time and time again those that display courage reap the spoils and the citizens pack the streets and squares and jump in exhilaration at someone elses success. This is usually followed by the comments..‘yea mon, me feel good she or he a mek Jamaica proud…” What does that mean..“make Jamaica proud”? Does it mean you are proud of YOURSELF as a Jamaican citizen basking in the collective euphoria or are you proud of Jamaica competing in the world of progressive nations? I think I know the answer. Courage is not overrated.It is the root to all things becoming right, it makes all justice served equally, politicians & church leaders becoming accountable, it is the virtue that makes all other virtues possible. It is the wind beneath our wings. YES we CAN…TOGETHER!
7. We resolve to……BE DIFFERENT
Einstein quote is “education is what remains after you have forgotten what you’ve learned in school..” In Jamaica’s case we can also add “after what you have been taught by your elders”. Going to school does not mean you are educated. The “village” educates you, not the school. So think positively and progressively. Think out of the box. Jamaicans like to follow fashion and believe that if it comes from foreign it must be good or better than what they were doing. When you follow you are floating on a river going nowhere. Everyman is a good teacher because he is an expert of what he does So learn and think for yourself. Life is your education. Remember the saying…if you judge a fish by how he can climb a tree, he will think he is useless.
8. We resolve to ……DON’T BLAME THE SYSTEM
It amazes me that we blame the system for our failure, for avarice, for selfishness, for decadence, for greed and we love these qualities in ourselves. And those qualities of manners, kindness, honesty we admire them and convince ourselves those qualities are the mark of the ‘Big Man” as if there are 2 kinds of people in Jamaica- the ‘big man’ and ‘the poor man.” Nonsense. That type of thinking is based on our emotions and is an illusion, a vulgar conception to soothe ourselves and give credence to our illusion. We create the system of which we complain. Fix it and succeed. Live with it and die.
9. We resolve to ……SELL OUR BRAND
Don’t be fooled . People visit our island because of YOU, US , nothing else. No beach, no sun, no mountain, no hotel, no music can replace or supersede the Jamaican, that smiling, friendly, confident, talented and beautifully speaking island man. So sell US. Sell YOU. This is what Brand Jamaica is – it’s not the THINGS made in the country..its YOU, its US.
10. We resolve to…..PURSUE OUR OWN PATH
“We run t’ings, t’ings noh run we “ is a common Jamaican phrase we use daily in our dialect and sometimes we need to stop and think on what we are saying. What we are saying is we decide our own path so Jamaica let’s do just that. Jamaica was at her wealthiest when we were rooted in the soil. We were feeders of the world once upon a time but we have turned our backs on our natural resources. We have rivers , brilliant sunshine , mountains, perfect soil and still we import things that can be grown here. We have wasted our resources on importing oil instead of focusing on expanding and developing our solar energy resources. A national policy of solar panel on every house in Jamaica would set world standards. That is where our leaders need to fight for its citizens. We need to run tings Jamaica. We have our own path. We are not producing . We are busy selling made in China and India cheap items when there should be a national policy of agriculture first, development of natural resources, national policies on river engineering for energy production, wind energy. We are destroying our own identity. Lets resolve to be Jamaican. Let us be leaders in the Caribbean again. Lets fall in love with Jamaica once again.
Let’s start again Jamaica. it’s a new year but this time with feelings and resolve.