Jamaica is a beautiful country. We’re world renowned for our amazing culture in the areas of entertainment, sports and food. But there are quite a few problems in Jamaica that set us back as a nation – specifically crime, accountability, indiscipline, brain drain and poor customer service.
We have serious crime problems in Jamaica
It’s no surprise that this is at the top of the list.
Since the 70s Jamaica has been experiencing a consistent increase in the crime rate. In 2020 we topped the murder charts in the Caribbean and Latin America, passing countries like Columbia and Mexico.
The crimes here range from shooting and robberies to rape, domestic abuse and corruption, and have been plaguing the country with what seems to be no solution. There is almost no day that passes where there isn’t some report of a crime in the media.
There was once a time when you could identify that killings and robberies only happened in certain communities – that’s no longer the case. Even in communities deemed peaceful there are several instances of criminal activity.
At this point it’s fair to say that Jamaicans are desensitized to crime, and it’s unfortunately just the norm.
We don’t like to be, or keep others, accountable
Accountability seems to be a strange concept to us. Why? Because we aren’t used to it.
We’ve witnessed, time and again, scandals of public officials take place and nothing comes from it. No one is penalized for the wrong committed, and the most that happens is the public official resigns or, in the case of politicians, gets reshuffled.
The same holds true for service providers. Utility providers don’t see it fit to be accountable to their paying customers. They provide poor service, issue inaccurate bills and overall make the customer experience difficult.
Hmm… and what of the ‘watch dogs’ tasked to ensure accountability? Well, they seem to be asleep.
Let’s talk about indiscipline
It is a known fact that many Jamaicans lack discipline.
We cut lines, litter and in general break as many rules as possible. But it was more so made manifest during this pandemic. Jamaicans find it so hard to follow basic instructions, even though the instructions are to protect them.
The indiscipline is also seen on our roads, and from where I stand, mostly because of taxi drivers. They stop and overtake anyone, anywhere and overall disobey the rules in the road code. All this is allowed to happen because of the above mentioned point.
Where there is no accountability, indiscipline prevails.
We have one of the highest rates of brain drain
Many fresh university graduates struggle to find jobs after graduating, and if they do the pay isn’t attractive enough to keep them. Not only does this affect university graduates but we see this topic resurfacing especially in the medical community this year.
Before the pandemic doctors and especially nurses were underpaid and overworked. This lead to many leaving. Since January of this year UHWI lost 70 nurses and I’m sure the figure will increase by the end of the year.
Jamaican employers show little appreciation for the work of their employees so it’s no surprise that many are leaving the country to look for better opportunities. The sad part is Jamaica suffers in this process because we lose some of our brightest minds.
Poor customer service is one of the biggest problems in Jamaica
From government agencies to private entities and utility providers, service is poor all over.
Calling businesses and expecting good customer service is a game of chance, especially after certain hours because you just won’t get through. If anyone does pick up, they make it seem as if you’re bothering them and they make no effort to help resolve your issue.
The standard of service is so low that in order to get any quality of service you have to know a ‘link’ who can ‘sort yuh out’. We’re so unaccustomed to high quality service that we often make jokes about it or experience shock when we do receive it.
I’m sure there are other areas to discuss but these are the major issues in my opinion. If there is no correction to these pressing social ills, then as a country we will continue to head in a downward spiral.