Why is it so hard for Jamaicans to do the right thing, no matter their educational level

I find that despite what we may think or say about the uneducated amongst us, its the well or better educated who find it the most difficult to do the correct thing, thus leading me to believe that education plays a very small role when it comes unto moral and ethics.

Why is it so easy to do the wrong thing and so hard to do the correct thing in Jamaica, let me give a few examples

  • PJ Patterson as Finance Minister gave a waiver to his friend in what was called the shell waiver scandal and he did not chose to resign, instead he was pushed. Years later he came back and will go down in history as the longest serving Prime Minister.
  • Bruce Golding inappropriately got involved in what turned out to be the dudus extradition scandal and refused to step aside. Eventually , under tremendous pressure from the then opposition and the Jamaica people he stepped aside.
  • Richard Azan inappropriately gave permission for government land to be used in what turned out to be the Spalding Market scandal. He resisted call for his resignation as Junior Minister in the Transport Minister for months . before eventually resigning. No sooner had he resigned, he was reinstated by the Prime Minister.
  • S. Barnswell was implicated in the same scandal and he was eventually charged and brought before the courts. He has so far resisted all calls for his resignation and remains as mayor today.
  • Kern Spencer inappropriately handled funds under his control in what was called the Cuban light bulbs scandal, he resisted calls for his resignation for months, before eventually stepping aside. More than 5 years on the case is still in court.
  • Mrs Hylton – QC was appointed by the GG to serve as one of the commissioners into the Tivoli incursion. It was later revealed that she made some very inappropriate comments as a part of a previous enquiry in 2002 into another Tivoli incursion back then, which would make her in the eyes in many an unsuitable candidate for this job. So far she has refused to do the right thing and recluse herself from the process to avoid the entire thing being tainted from the very start.

What is the common thread amongst all the folks above, well they are all educated and are amongst the best educated amongst us, but when faced with a moral or ethical decision, not a single one exercised good judgement in that regard and have all resisted doing the correct thing.

Too often people in the defence of others will tell us the academic qualifications of the person as well as their experience and that should make the person eminently qualified for a particular job. In doing so as in Mrs Hylton case, they miss the fact that its not the persons educational competence or experience that is in question. Instead its the appropriateness of that individual for a particular task given previous experience in a similar position is what is in debate and the two ought to be separated.

We all exercise poor judgement at times and I am not suggesting that one should be ostracised for life having made a mistake, but at the same time we cannot force others to accept our mistakes as if ” a nuh nuttin” and it’s business as usual ,that cannot be right.

How can one therefore not see the links between crimes in Jamaica and the ” a nuh nuttin” attitude we display on a daily basis. An uneducated man with a gun robs and maims as he takes from others to either maintain a certain profile or to care for his woman and offspring. He feels perfectly justified in doing so and see nothing wrong with this approach after-all ” man haffi eat a food”.

The same attitude exist in the private sector, where management steals from the company or from the Government and finds ways to cover it over, to enrich himself, but will bring the roof down on a worker if he is ever caught removing something from the same company. In many instances it’s the very same managers who use these workers to do the wrong thing for his or her own personal benefit as they say in St Kitts and Nevis ” Monkey see Monkey do”.

Doing the right thing is not easy when you see everyone around you doing the wrong thing  appearing to be rewarded by society as they continue to “step up inna life”, but I can tell you at the end of the day, you feel you lived a good life, if you make every effort to do what is right and just.

I know the response from readers will be ” well a not Jamaica alone is like this”, well I’ll de damned, does that mean we should continue. Can we not see how the country is rotting away.


2 Responses

  1. It is called “trickle down” criminality and as long as the approach is to only imprison those at the lower socio-economic level, nothing will change.

  2. The educated, business class and politicain in Jamaica deply believe it is their God given right tyo do wrong, to condone corruption and then brush it off. They honestly believe that because everyone is entitked to steal , rob, corrupt as it is the norm. In their belief any sentence for wrondoings should only be borne by the poor and economically marginalised. Ask any one in the middle class if wrong is wrong , they will not answer because wrong in Jamaica is right. It is to be right because corruption does not necessary benefit those corrupting but their wives, swethearts, cildren, friends, siblings, families, politicians and club members.

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