I would like
to think I am the second generation of an independent Jamaica. The previous generation, my parents, gained independence at a young age, filled with hope of how great independent Jamaica can be. Despite our many achievements in the past 50 years, Jamaica has failed to fulfill the vision, the promise. Unfortunately, despite our pride, national sentiment is low. We have low expectations when it comes to crime and education, low expectations for quality of life. For years the nation has been propped up by The Church, millions holding faith that
one day deliverance will come. There is a widespread mentality dubbed “sufferation” that we all must endure.
Unlike my parents generation, my generation does not know of a better Jamaica. I have become acclimatised to crime and “The Babylon” structure. What baffles me is how we got to this point. I know how re: bad decisions etc. I mean how is it that our own people have allowed this to happen. Anyway, I am not here to criticise the past, I am here to speak about the future.
One of the many problems we have are garrison communities. Despite what politicians say about them, they seem to be maintained and grow from decade to decade. For many reasons they will always exist, unfortunately one of them seems to be for political influence. Let’s skip that for a second and consider Jamaica on a mission. As a progressive nation should we not be looking towards providing better housing for our citizens? Yes
there have been projects to provide better housing in the past. Unfortunately corruption and politics have marred projects like this, turning “Back o’ wall” into Tivoli Gardens etc.
To spur economic development this year we funded the Jamaica Emergency Employment Program (JEEP). The initial budget for JEEP is 4 Billion Jamaican dollars. Technically this is a great project, however I don’t consider it a sustainable one. Why is it not sustainable? Because when someone is hired to build a sidewalk and clean a drain, what happens when they are finished?
What we do need is housing, low income affordable housing. What we also need is education. Jamaica also needs jobs. Why don’t we roll it all into one? Create an industrial village. Maybe this is all a grand idea, but that’s where it starts right? I think we should create housing projects around our major cities. Train unskilled labourers in different trades to build the houses. Create support structures such as schools, hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations. Why? Because our cities are becoming over crowded, real estate prices are rising as a result and it is widening the poverty gap. I am talking about a new city the size of Portmore on land not suited for agriculture.
The aim is to provide proper housing for people living in garrison communities. Include small farm areas per community, as well as community centres for training etc. In Kingston I can think of Standpipe, Grantspen.