Our leaders had told us ‘not to worry, we are prepared’. Who were they kidding? A fractured economy struggling to stay afloat following several devastating blows; the middle class spending power evaporated with the demise of the alternative investment schemes coupled with the skyrocketing food and oil prices left the poor that much poorer. The net result – a country with nothing left to spare.
Don’t believe me? Even as they told us not to worry ... ‘remittances are on target, advance bookings for tourism strong’ ... the Government was forced to use the Net International Reserves to protect the plummeting value of the JMD. This is a band-aid.
Okay. See the big picture? Let’s look at the smaller picture. How do WE paint a new landscape?
Conventional wisdom says we should cut our expenses, pay off high interest debt, seek new income streams and save, save, save. Conventional wisdom says our Government should cut expenses, pay off high interest debt, seek new streams of income and build, build, build. Hmm.
Let’s take a little personal responsibility. The Crisis may have been conceived in the sub-prime mortgage markets of the US, but the Crisis was nurtured by all of us. And it’s time to wean it.
Like never before, it is time to eat what we grow and grow what we eat. If we curb our appetite for foreign foods and other consumables, less hard earned fx dollars fly abroad, benefiting our economy.
Like never before, it’s time to borrow wisely, not frivolously. If we must borrow, borrow for capital investment that will grow and eventually be self-sustaining or increased in real value, not to for the latest unnecessary SUV.
Like never before, it is time to re-tool and re-train ourselves for the new industries. If we are prepared to service the new markets, our government can support our efforts with industry incentives.
Like never before, it’s time for us to build up a local nest egg which our government can leverage to build the necessary infrastructure for the future.
Need yet another metaphor? Here it is. The simple message is this ... rather than wait on some 'black' knight aka President elect to make our lives better, we need to accept that we are both the problem and the solution. Change is something we can believe in, if we change it ourselves. Yes, we can.