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Job creation is our greatest challenge

Khalid Wasi

I don’t need to explain the seriousness of life or overly dramatise the concerns that too many people have about their future, and the safety and prospects for their children. Many years ago there was a little slang that people in my circles would articulate whenever there was a need or an uncertainty that needed addressing: “There ain’t no mystery God.”

The term was meant essentially to put the onus or responsibility of action directly on us. If there is something to be fixed, we had to fix it or find someone who could. The other way of interpreting it is, if there is a problem or situation, it was not caused by a mystery, but someone or some idea caused it.

I recall going to a forum in the early Nineties. I was not the speaker at this forum, just an attendee. One of the presenters noticed me in the audience and decided it was an opportune moment to castigate me while holding the pulpit. He said in unequivocal terms that we don’t need any more black millionaires as leaders for our country.

His attack was so unrelenting and blatant that Robert Trew, now deceased, rose to his feet and could not be sat down until he finished defending my integrity. The point here really was not about me, but more so the misguided thoughts of the panellist.

The problem in the black community is the lack of black millionaires. Black clubs and social institutions are crumbling, our society is failing because of lack of affluence within the community. This cancerous attitude began to surface in the early to mid-Sixties with the advent of Marxist-type ideology, which engulfed many of our activists and led to an annihilation of the value of entrepreneurship.

A new standard was raised, the masses were caused to celebrate demagogues, which in itself may not be bad. But when you trash and ostracise your merchant leaders, without knowing, one sets the entire community on a downward spiral.

A downward spiral is what we have witnessed for more than 50 years and it’s no “mystery God” that led us here.

When one seeks a solution to a problem, you need to turn to the proper sources. If one develops a headache, you don’t call the police; you contact a health practitioner or a medical doctor. Similar if there is a labour issue, you reach out to those who resolve labour issues. If the issue is that there is not enough activity in the marketplace, you need to call on market thinkers and innovators.

We need to put things into proper perspective. E.F. Gordon — God bless his soul — did not create jobs. He helped in healing the disparity in the job market. The revolution today is not about a disparity in the job market; it’s about lack of jobs. Therefore, creating jobs, developing an economy so people can have employment and opportunity is our challenge today.

It’s OK to read books or admire revolutionaries, but try putting your hand in a business if you want to see a real solution and make a change. Instead of “burn, baby, burn” what about “build, baby, build”.

Those old tribalistic wars that took root in the Sixties, and has become a contagious, social virus, must be uprooted everywhere you hear or see them because they are truly the culprits responsible for the sustained, systemic poverty and for all the violence we continue to see.

It will not be easy but there is the need for a seismic shift that draws parallels to the shift from abject colonialism that was breaking down in the early Seventies and ended in riots.

This oligarchical approach, which is the very culture and a learnt behaviour of our politics, must end. Embrace the free-market thinkers. Allow the free flow of ideas within the marketplace to flourish without recriminations and political or personal bias.

Whenever you see or hear persons shooting down ideas not because of what they represent but because of who presents them, recognise that as an evil. Identify it as an evil voice and reject it.

This is the only way progress will be made. We must weed out evil and begin to support nobility once again.