Good vibes about 2008

I have a good feeling about 2008. I can proudly state that at the start of the second Leap Year in this new millennium I sent my first text message, but that is not the source of my optimism.

They say misery loves company and today I read that Trinidad and Tobago has had seven murders in the first two days of 2008; are they vying for top honours as the murder capital? But that is not the source of my optimism. I have been getting positive vibes from people in my circle.

Additionally, I have witnessed a few acts of random kindness, like a stranger offering ice cream to a little girl who wanted to have a treat for herself and her sister, but did not have enough money.

I also witnessed the public scolding of a medic who had left his SUV in the driveway of a medical complex completely blocking traffic as a way of getting back at a motorist who had parked in his designated slot.

Deciding that this behaviour was not befitting of a doctor, the men did not shirk from scolding him for his petulance. The doctor dug into his Jamaican vocabulary and came up with some choice expletives much to the amazement of onlookers. Despite his bravado one could tell he was pretty embarrassed.

But enough of foul-mouthed medics. As you might have guessed one of my personal goals for 2008 is to get more techno savvy, so I have acquired an Ipod, my MP3 player is firing away and I am working on establishing a blog. I have also set some practical goals like how to reduce my fuel and energy usage and ways to lower my credit card bills. The audacity of hope springs eternal so I am wishing that murders and road deaths be slashed by half of what they were in 2007.

With the New Year upon us, it is hard not to turn the journalist gaze to the happenings around us we like to make believe that we are shaking off the challenges of the old year, the reality is that while we try to forge ahead in 2008 we will be daunted by unfinished business of 2007. The hangovers which threaten our stability in this New Year include spiralling crime and violence, soaring oil prices, a falling dollar, and hefty food prices.

One recent report said the police started the year with a bang by recovering three firearms in one incident. Hardly a bang, in my estimation, but we applaud this success and pray that there will be multiple finds of illegal weapons and ammunition.

Kingfish says it now has an angle on the gun-for-drugs trade so we hope that they will be able to shut down some of the major gun smugglers in 2008. A regular reader of one of my columns asked me to make a case for the placement of closed circuit television at strategic points all over the country.

The evidence suggests that their usage has helped to capture wrongdoers in the United States.

Cameras are everywhere – in public garages, car parks, rest rooms, elevators, restaurants, etc., making the job of apprehension that much easier. They are expensive but apparently the pay-off justifies the outlay.

I recently called for a national energy plan, so far Minister Clive Mullings has not shared with the nation his plans for helping to reduce fuel consumption. The urgency cannot be ignored. Three heads are indeed better than one however, solutions to resuscitate the Jamaican dollar appear to have eluded the triumvirate at Heroes Circle.

A few of my colleagues have scoffed at the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. They argue that a few resolutions made around midnight on December 31 after days of revelry, cholesterol-clogged food and liquor is rarely respected and ought not to be taken seriously. Additionally, they say since there is no penalty for failing to keep these resolutions it is a worthless exercise. I disagree.

New beginnings offer opportunities to examine one’s life anew. It is useful to pose a series of questions about your hopes and aspirations and the way to achieve them. It is similar to an annual report done by a company.

If political parties make New Year’s resolutions, a worthy one would be for the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party to decide to cease all hostilities and join hands for the good of Jamaica, land we love. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Dennie Quill

Contributor, Jamaica Gleaner