It’s time to take a different path, Jamaica
We need an urgent plan to structurally transform the Jamaican economy.
To early 2021 I took the timee to return to myself; a private offline activity that has benefited me the most – and can benefit you if you try it. This trip allowed me to know myself better.
Looking back, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Yes, there are things I could have done better, but, for the most part, I did what I could and will continue on the same path.
I want to pass on three lessons that this trip taught me in the hope that they can help someone else:
1) Be true to who you are and don’t apologize for investing in “Brand You”. After all, you’re your competitor and it’s time to outdo yourself.
2) When your presence creates no value, your absence will go unnoticed. With the advent of globalization, supported today by the supreme web and digital technology, the jobs of today will not exist tomorrow, and the skills that will always be valued are those that can differentiate themselves and continue to innovate. Therefore, you will be left behind if you do not continuously improve your skills and knowledge.
3) Change your circle if it cannot support you or circle you towards your goals or accomplishments. Without a real team, you will never go far or fast.
We now live in a world where it seems like you don’t matter; if what you do is not seen; and if it’s not liked, shared, clicked, double-tapped, or commented on, then you or the event never happened. This need for immediate digital validation by others often forces many people to be something they are not, something less alive and authentic, all because they want to fit into a world shaped by a few. ones that cannot accommodate all of their individuality.
“A social media trend that has recently taken over ICT Tac features people sharing videos or photos of trips abroad with the superimposed text: “I’ll get my money back, but I’ll never…” The blank at the end looks something like “…swimming again on a secluded beach in Albania”. (Erin Lowry, July 2022)
Young people need to understand that there can be beauty even in silence and invisibility, knowing that “it is not the noise of the market” that is important, but rather “the real performance”, which is the achievement of its objectives.
At the start of 2022, I didn’t do the ordinary to wish everyone a generic “Happy New Year” amidst all the ill effects plaguing our country from crime, inflation, poverty, a strained health sector and two years of an inadequate education system. Instead, I challenged us not just to celebrate, but to focus on the hard-working people, because the future of Jamaica would depend largely on preparedness and fearlessness, not chance or a game of “pitch and toss”.
Now that the first half is behind us, it has been difficult, and the next six months will be even more so, rather than less complicated. Higher interest rates, less disposable income, higher commodity prices and higher budget deficits are the legacies of COVID-19, now exacerbated by global inflation.
With the pace of change fueling an expanded internet and the rapid assimilation of artificial intelligence controlling financial and banking services, the world will look very different in the next decade. Jamaica is lagging behind.
Tomorrow, August 1, our nation will celebrate Emancipation Day as we strive to celebrate 60 years of independence on August 6. What will be our mission as a people, as a country?
Unlike personal goals, preparing a government to take advantage of future opportunities requires bold and decisive leadership to build the most capable team, investing in Brand Jamaica to create long-term value and continued innovation for Jamaicans.
Can we find a way to finally make it right?
In one of my favorite James Ingram songs, Just oncehe laments, “Only once can we figure out what we keep doing wrong, Why we never last very long? Only once can we find a way to finally make it right? For may the magic last more than once If we could make it through, I know we could get through it…”
We approach the concept of national growth and development in the same way for 60 years. It’s time to take a different path.
Let us resolutely focus on implementing these three goals over the next 10 years.
Objective 1: To restructure the Jamaican economy towards a fairer distribution of the economic pie among all Jamaicans.
Economic growth has eluded most of our people; Even though companies listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange are posting record profits, especially banks, the average Jamaican is still struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, the largest banks and insurance companies currently operating in Jamaica are foreign-owned, while many hotels are foreign-owned. Therefore, we must do more to put Jamaicans at the center of our investment activities.
We need an urgent plan to structurally transform the Jamaican economy into an internationally competitive value-added exporting country, focused on products and services to identify global competitive advantage, controlling all inputs to our value chain, from raw materials to finished products.
Objective 2: Develop and implement an effective “four-step integrated prevention system” to address the socio-economic root causes of crime.
Part of this will be to assist the cognitive, psychosocial and physiological growth and development of our population which provides equal opportunities to all Jamaicans with targeted behavioral interventions, especially for those aged zero to six years.
The killings in Jamaica can be stopped within 15 years if scientific approaches are used to manage the violence, with preventive, structural and long-term programs at the individual and community levels: “Education and training, with parenting skills, mentoring and alternative justice interventions while providing economic opportunities that provide ontological security to all” are vitally important and informed, social anthropologist and lecturer Dr. Herbert Gayle.
Therefore, we need to create the budget to provide more ways to support our women and men by enabling them to learn parenting and life skills. These programs should educate them to plan better only for the children they can care for while giving them increased access to referral clinics that benefit children.
Goal 3: Provide universal access to globally competitive quality education for all Jamaicans at all levels.
This will require significant investment to adjust our school’s curricula to increase the supply of technical skills and the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), creative industries and performing arts, Jamaican history, Garveyism and agriculture.
If each of us on Independence Day decides to be stronger, be authentic and develop mutual respect for one another, we can create a better Jamaica for the next generation. Accordingly, I will remain committed to delivering impactful constituency projects while courageously lobbying Parliament in critical areas, such as improving Jamaica’s economic future, trade, women’s health and foreign affairs, while promoting bipartisan unity on programs and projects in the best interest of Jamaica.
As we celebrate our 60th anniversary of independence, it’s time to take a different path, Jamaica.
Have a safe, thoughtful and nurturing season of independence.
Lisa Hanna is MP for St Ann South Eastern, People’s National Party Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade and former Cabinet Member.