To Blog or Not to Blog: Time for Reflection and Action?

As I grow older, I begin to take a different approach to life.  I ask myself, “Is it necessary to get involved in one activity over another?  What is the objective of doing a particular task? Will it make a difference in someone else’s life? Will it help to solve the myriads of problems facing my Jamaican brothers and sisters?” Working as an Operations Analyst at the IDB has opened my eyes to many of the problems plaguing our society.  Since I am a “feeler”, it sometimes becomes very difficult to deal with some of the challenges and so I try to block my mind and try to become immune to the situations, but I am unable to do so. Our reality in Jamaica continues to be one of increasing food prices, increasing gas prices, a devaluated currency, increasing taxes, an increasing crime rate and rising unemployment.   When will it end? My heart aches when I am faced with the many needs around me.  The elderly man who comes to my home to ask for a cup of tea and something to eat, the elderly woman who needs money to buy medication, the young man who is willing to use his scissors to cut my grass because he cannot find a job, the young lady who begs me to give her a cleaning job so she can earn J$1,000 (about US$9 equivalent) to buy food for herself and her son or the mother who asks for money to send her child to school. This is the reality that I face on an on-going basis, and it will continue to be my reality as the economic challenges continue to wreak havoc on the lives of our people. I now realize how important my job at the Bank is, because it allows me to be able to work closely with some of the programmes that can address issues affecting the Jamaican populace – programmes such as the Education Sector Reform Programme (making a difference in the lives of our children); the Youth Development Programme (making a difference in the lives of our youth) and the Programme for Advancement through Health and Education (addressing the needs of the most vulnerable).  This need to make a difference has also spilled over in my personal life thus becoming my life’s mission, and so I have volunteered to be a teacher in my local church, I spend time counselling young people and being more caring of those who are less fortunate. I ask the question “To Blog or to Not Blog?”.  Do I join the movement to use electronic media to share information and personal views on topical issues?  I do not want blogging to be just another layer of activity on the many that we now have.  But if by sharing my thoughts, I can convert “talkers” into persons of action, and if that can result in identifying solutions to improve the hardships of our Jamaican people, then I am doing my job and living my convictions.  I will continue to pray and work for my country, Jamaica land we love.

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    Dennis Jones
    September 17, 2014 Reply

    Jamaica's economic situation is never easy to understand, but it is also the case that the perception of economic development and what data show are often at odds. Jamaicans rightly feel that life is hard in the country, because for decades low growth and high inflation have been the order of the day, meaning fewer job opportunities and higher living costs for most people. The exchange rate has been decking for decades, but very rapidly in recent months, in keeping with the IMF view that the real rate was overvalued, and the nominal rate has fallen sharply. That has turned up the pressure across the board as prices in almost every sector increase to reflect the higher cost of imports. But, without putting a sugar coating on the situation, Jamaica may be at a turning point--and these are often hard to notice properly. In recent months, the exchange rate has not fallen further, instead it has appreciated a little against the US dollar. Oil prices have been falling locally, in line with falling world prices. Admittedly, that benefit will be taken away as electricity and water prices continue to rise by large percentages. Other local costs have also risen, as bus fares in Kingston were just raised by large amounts. Unemployment remains high, but is falling. Crime is horribly high, but is also falling, especially the murder rate. When things have gotten to extreme levels, it hard to appreciate when they are getting better. Like you, I wish there was more of the good to report than the bad, but the weight is so heavily bad that we can be excused for not feeling the good effects readily. But, part of the success has to come from enough people working to improve conditions and believing that it is better to try to improve themselves and what they do, rather than just give up. It's a hard challenge, but one that I think is worth the effort.

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