Jamaican Opposition politicians have a ponderous proclivity to oppose whatever Government proposes regardless of the proposal’s merits.  This has become so entrenched that, now we’ve a new generation Opposition Leader who appears to approach things differently, reports are he’s vilified by his own party.

Jamaica, hanging by its national fingernails in an effort to avoid falling off a fiscal cliff, while crying out to the IMF as Sarge would to Beetle, needs a constructive, solutions-oriented Opposition; one that recognizes Education as one national imperative requiring consensus driven policies and off limits for political football games. Government must constructively engage the Opposition who must be open to such engagement. Just saying “no” because Government says “yes” won’t cut it.

                   “You say ‘either’ and I say ‘eyether’
You say ‘neither’ I say ‘nyether’
‘Either’ ‘eyether’, ‘neither’ ‘nyether’
Let’s call the whole thing off.

It’s too late to win the scarce benefits and spoils war.  Scarce benefits not starting (track wet).  Spoils missing in action, believed dead. To create new scarce benefits and spoils over which to fight, we must first create a generation of educated adults.  Job creation and thereby growth can only be driven by a fully developed human resource capable of creative thought and effective action.

Trust me on this.  No matter what the IMF, or Portia, or Peter or Andrew or Audley says, the way forward begins with the national objective of a first world, first class system of education that’s free for all. Government and Opposition must work together to that end.

                   “You say ‘potayto’ I say ‘potahtoe’
You say ‘tomayto’, I say ‘tomahtoe’
Potayto; potahtoe; tomayto; tomahtoe;                                                              Oh, let’s call the whole thing off

This objective won’t be achieved tomorrow.  But we can start.  Once we visualize what a fully educated and upwardly mobile human resource can do for Jamaica, we’ll begin to work to that end.  This means providing properly trained, fully motivated teachers at the basic and primary levels; investing in educational infrastructure; and opening the doors of primary schools of excellence to every child regardless of affordability.  Can we get together on this vision without political tension?

                   “Oh, if we call the whole thing off
then we must part and, oh,
if we ever part, that would break my heart

To get there, we’ll have to bite the political bullet and single out teachers for special treatment.  This needs arranging without apology and without any knee-jerk political football games from the Opposition.  We’ll agree to disagree about many things but, regardless of divergent political philosophies, we must come together on this crucial national imperative.

                   “So, I say ‘ursta’ you say ‘oyster’
I’m not gonna stop eatin’ urstas                                                             just cause you say oysters.
Oh, let’s call the whole thing off

Every successful citizen recalls (or is it remembers?) a teacher who motivated his/her drive to success.  It’s simple truth that teachers are more important to human development than all else.  Let education be the first signpost of change from our tribalist past.  For that, let’s call tribalism off.

                   “Oh, I say ‘pijamas’, you say ‘pajamas’
Sugar, what’s the problem?
Oh, for we know we need each other so
we’d better call the calling off off

Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off was a seminal contribution to the great American songbook by the brothers genius, George and Ira Gershwin.  The whole idea of opposing just to be different reminds me of an apocryphal tale of a fleeing Taliban, desperate for water, plodding through the Afghan desert.  He saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he hurried toward what looked like an oasis but, in reality, turned out to be a British soldier selling regimental ties.

The Taliban asked, “You have water?”
The soldier replied, “There’s no water, the well is dry. Would you like to buy a tie instead? They’re only $55.00”
The Taliban went ballistic, “You idiot infidel! I don’t need an over-priced tie. I’m dying of thirst.  What I need is water! I should kill you, but I need water first!”

“OK,” said the soldier, “No matter you won’t buy a tie and you hate me. I’ll show you I’m the bigger and better human being. If you continue over that hill to the east for two miles, you will find our Sergeants’ Mess.  There’s all the ice cold water you’ll need….”

Cursing, the Taliban staggered away.  Several hours later he limped back, collapsed with dehydration.  He gasped “They won’t let me in without a friggin’ tie!”

Peace and Love


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: