We are digging our graves with our teeth

Monday, November 26, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

In May 2012, Jamaica's debt stood at a staggering $1.7 trillion (US $19.5 billion) translating to $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.

The frightening reality is that in May 2012, every child born in Jamaica is born with a debt burden of $600,000 weighing down his infant neck, even before he sucks a mouthful of milk. That same child has an uphill task that gets tougher by the minute. He will have the daily challenge of traversing deplorable roads, an education system in shambles, a crime rate that's among the highest in the world, a justice system that scarcely delivers, a system that is replete with corruption, and a broken political system that virtually serves as a source of employment for a few, who in return preside over an anaemic economy that holds little or no promise, even if that child manages to become employable.

As for those who ostracise and seek to demonise their fellow Jamaicans in the name of politics, you are foolishly misguided. The days and years ahead are going to be extremely rough. The country is bursting at the seams and we are falling helplessly into the dark hole of another recession. The ship of Jamaica is heading for an iceberg and the captain is asleep at the wheel. Don't be fooled by the hypnotic symphony of political rhetoric. What you hear are not songs heralding a new and better day, but the dirge of a funeral procession.

We have been fooling ourselves for too long, saying, "Jamaica no problem." Not only do we have problems, we are a problem. It is no longer true that in Jamaica "life is a beach". It is no longer true that everything is "irie". Jamaica is hardly a land of wood and water anymore, because we have to be importing $3 billion worth of wood each year. We are losing what we have and can't afford what we need. If you consume more than you produce and you increase what you consume without increasing what you produce, you are digging your grave with your teeth.

Laval Wilkinson

Ontario, Canada

lavalwilkinson@hotmail.com

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