Friday, 29 November 2013

Squatting Promotes Garrisons

THE GOVERNMENT has signalled its intention to rid the Jamaican society of all gangs and dismantle all garrisons in the wake of the assault on west Kingston. While this seems to be an ambitious and commendable task it should not end there.
The Government also needs to tackle the issue of squatting and the emergence of unplanned settlements throughout the entire country. There is a clear connection between garrisons/dons and unplanned settlements. When these unplanned settlements are allowed to develop it inevitably calls for a leadership issue, and this usually ends up with a don emerging. It is the abandonment of the State to provide basic needs for the citizenry that has led to the emergence of dons and garrisons.
Second, there is the issue of the commercialisation of residential areas, especially where sidewalk garages are concerned. This social problem adds greatly to the erosion of the quality of life for law-abiding citizens, as well as create an opportunity for area leaders to emerge in these area. Successive governments over the years have promised to address this problem. However, the problem has now spiralled out of control.
A third issue of concern is to widen the tax net. Too many working Jamaicans are not paying taxes; this adds pressure to those of us who are pay-as-you-earn employees. We need to share the burden if our society is to become equitable.
The final issue of concern is the restructuring of the education system to cater more to our males. What currently exists does not adequately addresses the needs of our males and, as a result, each year the society loses many males who fall through the cracks in the system. They then become prime targets for a life of crime and violence.
Too often governments adopt a top-down approach to development instead of a bottom-up approach. This tendency oftentimes does not capture the experiences and ideas of the average person.
My wish is that this time our Government will depart from what is the norm and engage the people more in the development process.