The articulate minority…Wow did they get it wrong!

Its been eight days since the 17th general election in Jamaica was held on Thursday, February 25, 2016 and my oh my what an exciting eight days! From official counting, magisterial recount application to recounts…I tell you its never been a more exciting time to be alive in this country. As the dust settles and many, if not all, the political pundits are conducting post mortem on the elections I have a deluge of opinions circulating in my head…Argh!! Not that I needed anymore voices in my head as I have my own ‘family’ of voices already resident there. However one of the most common hypothesis was that the election  win, marginal as it was, was accomplished by the ‘articulate minority’ influence. In the absence of a formal debate which left a vacuum for the ventilation of issues affecting the country, social media was an apt substitute. Matters deemed important and the reactions to the way the campaign was conducted both provided the fodder in twitter land and facebook world. Political memes were illustrated ingenuity. To substantiate the claim it is felt that the impact had an impact which exponentially improved the voter turnout from that worrisome ‘youth’ demographic. It seemed the ones who bothered to participate were adequately incensed and wanted to affect a change. If there is truth to what is posited then it begs the question, ‘what else have the proverbial they  gotten wrong?’

You see the same persons who uttered those famous last words and those who concurred (and there was an apparent acquiescing) are persons in decision-making capacities. They govern the way we engage with ourselves and external stakeholders. So then, what else have they gotten wrong? I want to look on a particular area of the Jamaican landscape for which traction is building our the last couple days for immediate attention on the agenda of the new government- the environment.

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The fire viewed from Mandela Highway shows the billow of smoke emitting unknown and copious amounts of chemicals into the atmosphere.

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The angry and stagnant noxious chemical filled smoke at the immediate rear of my community.

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The first signs of imminent danger- Seen from Old Harbour, St.Catherine road. Indication of extent and reach.

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Seen looming large behind an informal settlement.

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In close proximity to business places.

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At the scene.

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On the scene.

The series of pictures above highlight the most recent (2014) fire at the Kingston solid waste dumpsite, captioned for ease of reference. Each allows for inference as to the different implications for the natural environment as well as the socio-economic environment. Public health issues, loss of productivity were some of the obvious ones. However, and despite the official reporting, one is hard-pressed not to think of the long term effect on the air quality and atmospheric composition. DID THEY GET IT RIGHT?

The Ministry with responsibility for the environment and the premier environmental agency should in the new government heed the call of the environmental lobby groups and their partners to envelop a paradigm shift in how we manage our ourselves and how we are regulated and properly penalized in the event of breaches. In addition we must be mindful of the treaties and conventions to which we are party. We should act accordingly to secure the rights of not only this generation but that of the future to ensure the same common pool of resources. After all we were in Paris at the Climate Change conference last year lobbying for 1.5 and below. Studies have proven that its the emission to the atmosphere brought to bear by the activities of man which have sped up the current climatic changes. We need to relocate this dumpsite…. and oh while we are at it (a) stop removing our sand from the beaches and (b) do not disturb the Cockpit Country as it is one of the last remaining and intact karst ecosystem in the island. CAN WE GET IT RIGHT?… What say you my trigger (oops twitter )-finger happy people?

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