Monday, May 2, 2016


Written by Hansen von Shneir

You will recall my last letter to you entitled: “Jamaica’s New Approach”.First let me thank those of you who took the time to respond to the letter, and for your patience regarding a follow-up response to your comments and suggestions. My delayed response was deliberate, as I wanted to carefully consider the concerns shared in each of the numerous emails I received.Having done so, I am heartened by the commonality of pride and hope shared by my fellow Jamaicans for our beloved island. And though I am encouraged by this optimism about Jamaica’s future, I am also mindful of the prevailing conditions that currently plague Jamaica.

Reading your emails, I am also overwhelmed by the degree of frustrations, which assail our people. And while many of you expressed a strong desire for immediate solutions, I must ask your continued patience, and counsel against any illusion of a “quick-fix” proposition. Your consensus on the issues affecting Jamaica is far too critical to be treated lightly.

Among your many concerns, these three were paramount:
- The inability of the local authorities to control a spiraling crime rate;
- The lack of resolve of the government to re-vitalize the country with economic opportunities;
- An education system that does not support Jamaica’s core competencies;
I am left with the recognition that our problems are permanently engraved in our history, and compounded further by practice and culture. It is therefore incumbent upon us to consider a “New Approach” - one that has a clear focus on sustainability. And so, where do we go from here?

First, I believe it is important that we continue to engage in this form of civil dialogue. Too often have we stifled our progress with minor disagreements and internal rivalry.Secondly, collectively as Jamaicans, since we are aware of the circumstances on the ground, there are no reasons why we cannot agree on a common approach that serves the overall good. With a firm resolve, we can do this. And thirdly, we have to be cautious not to copy a model that has worked for other communities and then to apply it as a solution for Jamaica’s problems. 

This will not work. We must become cognizant that our nation’s unique situation demands its own solutions.
There is an abundance of resources on the island that could be harnessed to provide opportunities and wealth for our people, as evidenced by the number of multi-national corporations that are buying into Jamaica. Let’s become proactive in identifying these opportunities for ourselves.I confess that I am on the outside looking in. However, the observer’s role has enabled me with the insight and the capacity to provide for this type of discourse. I am aware of Jamaica’s social and economic perils, and even more aware of the positive impact of certain aspects of our culture on the world.

We need to make a commitment to have this type of impact on ourselves … our people … and our country.
Join me in this dialogue, so that we may explore the ways in which our collaborative efforts can change the reality on the ground. In the upcoming months, I shall make provisions for a website. This will allow for a more efficient form of communication among those committed to this purpose.In the meantime, I want to thank all of you in advance for your time, your suggestions, and your initiative, as the dialogue continues. 

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