Sorely Lacking Infrastructure & Protections, Killing Innovation…

It is the dream of most Jamaicans to see our coun­try become a first-rate coun­try with ade­quate infra­struc­ture so that the entre­pre­neur­ial spir­it can thrive.
Yesterday I was sad­dened at the com­ments of a friend who is a loy­al Jamaican rear­ing to bring his skill set to work for the Jamaican peo­ple. This broth­er stayed home and has been will­ing to con­tin­ue to inno­vate for the good of the coun­try.
In a social media post, he lament­ed the cor­rup­tion, and dare I say, the inep­ti­tude of *Government*, to see to the needs of Jamaican inno­va­tors, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the tech indus­try. (the term *gov­ern­ment* is used par­ty neu­tral)
I point­ed out to my friend that now that oth­er nations are focused on tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments for their peo­ple, all across our tiny nation, there is a tremen­dous need for roads, where roads exist they are crater-filled.

These are what pass­es for roads all across the rur­al coun­try­side.

The Government boasts about build­ing bridges, nev­er­the­less, in a sit­u­a­tion in which a bridge is erect­ed it is done for show, for the now, it is not con­struct­ed like an edi­fice that will stand the test of time, much less accom­mo­date the needs of an ever explod­ing pop­u­la­tion.
In the case of the bridge in this arti­cle shown above, there is a con­ver­sa­tion to be had, that there was none there before, but build­ing it should not be about brag­ging rights, it ought to be about putting in place a struc­ture that will be there for anoth­er hun­dred years, long after we are gone.

Chesterfield bridge in St Mary. It is a ford­ing for sure but is this any­one’s idea of a bridge that will last.

How can a gov­ern­ment focus on the needs of tech­nol­o­gy when it lacks the vision, com­mit­ment, and where­with­al to see to the most basic infra­struc­tur­al needs of the nation.
Roadways, bridges, water sup­ply, elec­tric­i­ty, schools, hos­pi­tals, fire sta­tions, pris­ons, police sta­tions, and yes, broad­band, that is the role of the gov­ern­ment, to put in place and main­tain those infra­struc­tures so that the peo­ple can inno­vate.
The tax­es derived from inno­va­tion if han­dled prop­er­ly, will be more than enough to main­tain those infra­struc­tures.
Which brings me to the new toll road increas­es.
Jamaica should not be in a posi­tion that required for­eign­ers to come to Jamaica to build roads that Jamaicans should be build­ing and main­tain­ing them­selves.
Decades of cor­rup­tion and theft of tax-pay­ers resources by the two polit­i­cal par­ties, result­ed in the door flung wide open for the Chinese to Waltz right in and dan­gle shiny new roads. Of course, with it, they need­ed to extract their pound of flesh, so away went prime Jamaican prop­er­ty dirt cheap, and that was just the begin­ning of it.

These are beau­ti­ful hotels for sure, but how many Jamaicans can afford to spend a sin­gle night in one of these lux­u­ry prop­er­ties?

The cost of dri­ving on the new roads are so astro­nom­i­cal, that many motorists are forced to stay off them. So des­per­ate was the Government of the day when they nego­ti­at­ed with the oper­a­tors of the new Highway 2000, that they basi­cal­ly gave in to what­ev­er they want­ed. Those are the things devel­op­ing nations are forced to do when they nego­ti­ate from posi­tions of weak­ness. Those are the things cor­rupt devel­op­ing nations do when they squan­der and steal their peo­ple’s scarce resources.
It is under­stand­able that because of Jamaica’s ever depre­ci­at­ing dol­lar, costs will go up, which is a major chal­lenge for who­ev­er forms the gov­ern­ment.
Notwithstanding, the gov­ern­ment must find ways to ease the bur­den from the poor peo­ple who are find­ing the crush­ing weight of the cost of liv­ing far too much to bear.
Already the pub­lic util­i­ty com­pa­ny does as it pleas­es with elec­tric­i­ty rates, there are hotels in our coun­try that the aver­age Jamaican will nev­er be able to sleep in, beach­es they can­not afford to enjoy in their own coun­try, and roads they can­not dri­ve on.
The devel­op­ment of a nation must include the peo­ple, it can­not be that we have a coun­try in which the natives are like sec­ond class cit­i­zens in their own coun­try.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, free­lance writer, he is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog mike​beck​les​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge, or sub­scribe to his Youtube chan­nel @chatt-a-box, for the lat­est pod­cast all free to you of course.

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