Jermel Shim Book Launch Speech
Thursday, March 15, 2018
The University of the West Indies, Mona
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen good evening. First let me say thanks to Professor Ying for his glowing comments about me, his constructive comments about the book, and for his informative and interesting overview of the Diaspora organization. Also let me thank him for his leadership in that organization as an executive director.
Like all of you here tonight and Jamaicans wherever they may be who have concerns about the serious problems affecting the country, I too share those concerns. These concerns are what motivated me to write this book. The nucleus of these concerns evolved back in 2002 when I began writing comments or posts to news stories in the online Jamaica Observer and Daily Gleaner. Since that time I have written hundreds of posts many of which can be found on my website JermelShim.com.
I want to assure you that this book, The Long Road to Progress for Jamaica, was not written to seek personal glory. It was written for us Jamaicans for the purpose of helping to stir our consciousness to become more proactive in seeking positive changes and progress for Jamaica. That is why I have dedicated this book to the people of Jamaica.
We should not delude ourselves into believing that the serious problems that have stymied Jamaica’s growth and development throughout most of its independent life can be fixed overnight. These problems are well entrenched in the society and to some degree they are now rooted in the culture. What this means is that it will require a cultural revolution to correct them and change course.
The Long Road to Progress for Jamaica is a unique book that provides focus on the political leadership that has shaped Jamaica throughout the independent period. It does this by dividing the independent period into 3 sub periods. They are: The Foundation Period from 1962 to 1972, The Social Chaos and Political Corruption period from 1972 to 2006, and The Maintenance of the Status Quo period from 2006 to the current time. Each of the nine prime ministers is profiled under one of these sub period relative to their contributions.
Another unique feature of the book is that it identifies the accomplishments, the failures, and provides practical solutions or measures that may be implemented to destroy the crime monster and corruption. If these problems are not resolved then it will be virtually impossible to restore Jamaica to a status where conditions are more favorable for growth and development.
It is clear then, that if Jamaica is to reverse course and move forward on a path to progress, it can only do so with political leadership that has the courage and the vision to implement bold measures. That leadership must also be committed to inspiring and motivating people to make the sacrifices that will be needed. To sum this up, it cannot be business as usual.
In my opinion, Jamaica needs a new game plan that will eliminate obstacles that are not conducive to growth and development or even effective political governance. These obstacles include political corruption, gangs, violent crime, political tribalism, and the maintenance of garrison constituencies. The fact that these obstacles have existed since the 70s, tells us that they are well ingrained in society. We cannot blame the political leaders alone for these problems, the Jamaican people must bear some responsibility because of what is seen as a failure to demand an end to these pernicious problems.
Ladies and gentlemen, if there is one message I want to leave with you tonight, it is this:
Put the interest of your country first and not that of your political party. Do not have blind allegiance to your party because that will not help to solve the problems that are holding the country back. Blind allegiance manifests itself as political tribalism which is undemocratic and probably unconstitutional. The only entity that benefits from political tribalism is the political party and not the people of our beloved country.
Thank you all for attending this book launch and please spread the word about The Long Road to Progress for Jamaica. The book is available at the Kingston Bookshop at Liguanea and Portmore. Also, their will be a book signing at the Liguanea store tomorrow at 4:00 PM and the Portmore store at 3:00 PM.
God bless you all, and God bless Jamaica land we love.
- Professor Neville Ying’s Speech at the Book Launch for The Long Road to Progress for Jamaica
- The Lernaean Hydra in the Washington DC Swamp