On January 29th, President Barack Obama offered his 5th State of the Union address. He gave a generic but hopeful speech touching on topics like helping the middle class, equality for women, getting Americans back to work, better education. All in all, inspiring confidence in his base that he continues to fight on their behalf for a better standard of living.
Meanwhile, in Jamaica – Former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding says that Jamaicans should avoid “sensationalism” and “populist tendencies” when looking at commercial bank fees, fees which have risen over 30% in the past 2 years according to a report from the Bank of Jamaica. While Mr Golding pats these banks on the back and gives them a consoling “there there” because they, the banks, NEED to raise fees in response to the impacts of the current economic climate, while they can finagle their rate cards at their whim with the support of national leaders like Mr Golding…there are hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans who can’t make ends meet, who can’t even afford their daily bread. Jamaica sells off every major asset it owns to foreign interests, taxes its citizens over 15% on everyday items, watches the value of its dollar slide into oblivion, and then has the nerve to talk about why banks need to be making more money? All this while denying citizens the right to begin to finally legally grow and export the marijuana that has always been in demand internationally, but can suddenly now be legitimately monetized, bringing millions, if not billions of dollars flooding into the country.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson is courting the private sector, hoping that they will step up to invest in the programs and infrastructure that the government cannot afford. Well, Jamaican leaders, good luck with your hope and crony capitalism. Jamaican people I hope we can find a way out of the quagmire we find ourselves in. But for the moment, I’m not sure what to say to you about the State of Our Union, the state of our future, other than – May God help us.