Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring, happy bells across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.*
As we say adieu to the year 2015, it is an opportune time to reflect on some of the achievements that we may have made over the last 364 days. I hope that your review will reveal encouraging steps in your journey to improving your financial wellbeing and accomplishing your goals!
The year end is also an appropriate time for us to honestly look at our problems and determine stategies to have a better New Year. Let’s review some of the issues that have concerned many Jamaicans in 2015, and make some resolutions that can lead to a more prosperous nation in 2016.
Ring out election strife
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.*
2016 will be a significant year in which Jamaicans exercise their democratic rights to elect the government of their choice. Historically, our nation has experienced considerable civil turmoil arising from misguided persons who try to use violence and dishonesty to influence the outcome.
The contentious nature of electioneering has turned off many persons from getting involved in the practice of choosing our leaders. We feel excluded from the process; our voices are neither heard nor respected. With cynical shrugs we resign our fate to the machinations of a flawed system.
It is my wish that we will eschew the divisive dialogue representative of an ugly period of our past elections, and pursue a nobler form of discourse where we can intelligently discuss practical strategies for Jamaica’s development. Ring out the old, ring in the new for a mature democracy!
Ring out crime and violence
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.*
While many of us are honest, some Jamaicans believe that it is acceptable to break the law if the activity hurts no one. So what if we avoid paying our rightful taxes or bribe police officers to ignore our traffic offences? Sometimes, our consciences are silent when it comes to victimless crimes.
However, ignoring the rule of law with the ‘little’ things opens the door for serious criminal activities to flourish. In some communities, scamming innocent seniors is a respectable job and killing to ‘eat a food’ is the norm for survival. In 2015, all Jamaica suffered from the scourge of violent crime.
It is my wish that each person will take an introspective look at how their own lawlessness may contribute to the general anarchy in the society. Develop a zero tolerance approach to crime in all its forms. Ring out the old, ring in the new for a safe, crime-free Jamaica!
Ring out poor health
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
2015 will be remembered as a year of health crises which brought tremendous suffering and dislocation for many Jamaicans. From the remnants of the Chik-V epidemic to the death of infants; news about the deplorable state of Jamaica’s health care occupied the headlines this year.
While we recognise that there are economic constraints that affect how our money is spent, why can funds be quickly sourced to accommodate visiting heads of state or create short-term work projects, while our health care system continues to be starved of desperately-needed upgrades?
It is my wish that the government will look at the long-term benefits to be derived from investing in quality health care for those who cannot afford expensive facilities, instead of concentrating on ventures that are politically expedient. Ring out the old, ring in the new for a healthy Jamaica!
Ring in goodwill to all
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.*
Jamaicans are renowned for being amiable people, ready to welcome all who visit our shores. Yet there are many whose unsociable behaviours give the rest of us a bad reputation. Boorish driving, vexatious disputes and the ever-present ‘bad mind’ are features of our society we could do without.
It is my wish to see us return to a kindlier, gentler Jamaica, where principles of truth, honour, and justice are desirable, and the entire society opposes and rejects those elements that stand for disorder and discord. Ring out the old, ring in the new for a peaceful, harmonious Jamaica!
*Ring Out, Wild Bells by Lord, Alfred Tennyson
Copyright © 2015 Cherryl Hanson Simpson. No reproduction without written consent.
Originally published in The Daily Observer, December 31, 2015.
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