So let us turn Jamaica around with the same fervor we would a company, let’s make an investment in Jamaica, building social capital. But we must start with changing our mindset, acknowledging there is work to be done and that each person has a role to play. Then there needs to be a willingness to address the issues, moving away from the ‘wha dat haffi do wid me’ mentality, to seeing the broader picture that an improved Jamaica means more investment, growth in the economy, available jobs, better infrastructure and an improved quality of life for citizens. Put in that light, there ought to be a determination toward creating lasting change which benefits us all. And yes, change will not be immediate, but in time we are guaranteed a return on investment to create a new Jamaica, if even for our children. And who wouldn’t want that?
The state depends on social stability and consensus. This sets the stage for thriving economic and social development when all participants (government, corporate sector, civil society, church, interest groups, individuals) work jointly to identify and pursue common goals. Just as no company can build a strong brand without people who either share its core values or possess the willingness and ability to embrace those values. So it is that Jamaica requires a cooperative buy-in where each person realizes he/she individually, is part of a larger institution and must work together with as a unified force, aimed at building a better Jamaica. ‘Wan finga cyaan kill louse’ (One finger alone cannot kill lice).
Let’s start with what it means to be a proud Jamaican. A great culture starts with a vision and a mission statement. In a few sentences, these words guide a company’s values and provide it with standards, a rallying cry and purpose. That purpose, in turn, ought to influence every decision employees make. When prominently displayed and treated as more then mere words in a frame and when portrayed consistently in leaders’ actions, good mission statements can be a continuous guide to employees. I think our beautifully crafted National Pledge and Anthem serve this purpose; as both articulate values and guidelines for our behaviour and conviction as Jamaicans. But the problem is, for many of us they were learnt through rote so they have no real meaning. Because we have not internalized, we can’t realize. If we had, the principles would have been entrenched in our consciousness, manifested in our daily life. So at the end of the day, it means very little.
- Start teaching, really teaching our people, especially our children, the National Pledge and Anthem in a way that they understand what they really mean. Not something to just go through the motions and reel off the words. But to emphasize the importance of what the words mean and how Jamaica benefits if we were to act on the pledge.
- Say and sing them often: at national events, corporate functions, schools, Churches. Keep them ever before us to remind us what we have pledged to do as citizens and what we would like for our country.
- Instill in our people a respect and reverence for the National Pledge and Anthem for them to truly become more than symbols but statements of a mission and vision.