VYBZ KARTEL’S CO-AUTHOR OFFERS JAMAICAN “NO WATER IN THE PIPE” CHALLENGE

Michael Dawson asks individuals in Jamaica
with a water issue – no running water, dirty water, low water pressure,
frequent lock-offs etc to post pictures so he can bring awareness to the
water crisis the poor in Jamaica are currently suffering with. Also pledges
to personally donate a bucket of clean water clean water to the poor for each
of the first 1000 verifiable pictures or videos posted to web-site internally
verified to be authentic. He will also seek to invest in projects that will
bring water to those who cannot afford it.
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The following is the verbatim release from
Dawson’s Office
Whilst I applaud any effort to raise funds
to fight any disease, I was contacted by some residents of the Gaza in St.
Catherine and other Portmore residents who cringed when they saw the Honorable
Lisa Hanna take the Ice-Bucket Challenge. Many salivated in the afternoon how
a drop from that bucket that was poured over her head could have allowed them
to brush their teeth this morning; others were traumatized, remembering how
many days and nights they had to curb their natural bodily functions as they
did not even have enough water to fill a bucket to flush the toilet; whilst
one young mother lamented she could have avoided her infant child’s constant
diarrhea and vomiting if the Minister of Youth & Culture had spared her
that apparently clean water instead of having it thrown away whilst popping
her beautiful radiant smile, as clean water does not come to the area where
she lives and there is no money to buy from private vendors.

Let me be very clear, I think the Minister
was genuine, well intentioned and acted out of an abundance of care for those
with the disease and used her notoriety to help and for that she must be
applauded. Indeed, the Minister did mention that she knew two people stricken
with the disease. The sad thing with these diseases is that they are very
hard to detect before it’s too late and so far seems non-discriminatory in
who it attacks so I am very cognizant that a friend, a love one or even I,
can become a victim of it.
However, I think this situation reminded me
why Jamaica truly needs a Voice of the Ghetto to highlight the plight of the
poor to the powers that be who largely determine their fate but seem
oblivious to their struggles based on the draconian effect their policies,
decisions and actions have on the less fortunate. As I view Facebook comments
and postings, the duplicitous nature of our country and the inability of the
rich to identify with the plight of the poor are ominous. I see the majority
of my uptown friends laughing and saying how cool this all is and then
proceeding to issue more challenges subsequently encouraging the wasting of
precious water. Some even go as far as to source even bigger containers than
a standard bucket so more water is poured (wasted); adds to the fun I guess.
After all, when you can afford two large water tanks; a few gallons of water
being wasted is no big deal and if ever you run out of water, uptown you
don’t have to buy by the bucket, you can buy the entire truck’s supply. Conversely,
I am getting the WTF texts and IMs from my friends who are not uptown asking
me how the Minister could be so insensitive – knowing that they have not had
proper water for years and as an elected official, as a supposed servant of
the people of Jamaica and more so, as Minister of Youth – how could she be so
insensitive knowing that last year and the year to come youths will not
attend school due to no water being available? In fact, almost all schools in
Jamaica have had a water problem and so many poor youths (whose welfare is
largely dependent on how she performs as Minister of Youth) suffer illness
due to not having clean running water. To make matters worse, her joyous
water challenge was followed by news of a request by the education Minister
for parents to send children to school with water as the schools do not have
enough for operation – curious if they have to do that at the exclusive
Private schools too. Talk about adding insult to injury! Ms. Hanna and other
celebrities have used their dumping of water to raise concerns for a cause
that is dear to them to trigger donations. I don’t think anyone should have a
problem with Ms. Lisa Hanna the former Miss World and admired celebrity doing
that, but I do understand Jamaicans without water being upset that Minister
Hanna, their elected official did not think about the hundreds of thousands
of ‘waterless’ Jamaicans before having a bucket of water (even in the form of
ice is still a precious commodity to many) thrown away whilst smiling sitting
supposedly around her government desk. Even if Ms. Hanna chose to not concern
herself with global issues such as the hundreds of women and children dying
of thirst in Iraq while hiding in the mountains from the genocidal ISIS or
the people of neighboring Haiti and our brothers in Africa dying from Cholera
due to dirty water, it is my view that she should have at least thought of
her local constituents. Ms. Hanna, many of them commented that they are
sitting up at night, fantasizing about the many hygienic things they could do
with that bucket of water that you threw away; perhaps a little wash up,
maybe brush their teeth or clean their baby girl after she messes herself to
avoid the constant chafing but it will still be a fantasy for them because
there is still no water coming from the pipe and no money to buy any.
Over the years, many of us have been
asking, begging and imploring government officials to think of the poor
before making decisions big and small. It is understood at least by me, that
politicians do not understand what the poor go through; I suppose if they
did, one Senior politician would ask that the nation preserve every bucket of
water that we can find and do as they have now reportedly done in the States
– forbid members of Congress and diplomats from taking the challenge.
However, I realized the next day that Jamaican politicians are probably
figuring out how to spend the anticipated windfall of new revenue that they
will earn with the 200% increase in some bus fares. Again, why would they
care about the effect on the poor? Their drivers don’t even allow them to
walk a few feet to the parking lot to step in the air-conditioned tinted
government issued luxury SUV, so why care about some poor person who may have
to now walk home as they can’t afford the bus fare.
Well I for one am fed up and sick and tired
of asking the politicians to care. Many did it in songs, “call in programs”
and in writing. In fact, in the book Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto that I
wrote with Vybz Kartel, we tried to literally speak on poor people’s behalf
but even though Universities around the world made the book accessible to
their students, the system tried to shun it in Jamaica. The system ignored
every suggestion to help the poor and eliminate some of the pain of poverty
but the bourgeoisie just went on its merry way and continued to raise the
cost of basic items for the poor. They denied access to affordable
electricity to many, a failed justice system allowed our youth to continue to
die in police custody and there seems to be no change to come. So now, I am
even more committed to completing the mission we started with the book; I
will put your failure as politicians to serve Jamaica’s poor on “blast,” yes,
there will be pictures and videos of what the poor experience everyday as I
will be creating the social media infrastructure, a website and invest in
advertising, all dedicated to exposing the way the government has failed the
poor. This is not a threat nor a warning, it’s a promise. I won’t stop with
the water shortage; after highlighting the struggle of the people due to not
having water, I am going to highlight those who have bad roads or no roads,
inadequate schools and hospitals, injustice in jails and courts and just
about everything that has been hidden by politicians about how the majority
of Jamaican poor people really live. You don’t see many people in the Ghetto
pouring ice water on themselves, let alone at work as the Minister did.
Partially because unlike Ms. Hanna, they would get fired if they did that and
probably don’t have a change of clothes because there is no water at home to
wash their uniforms.
In closing, I hold no grudge against Ms.
Hanna; my grudge is against the system that she is a part of. This innocent
act of goodwill on her part, fortunately or unfortunately highlights what I
think is wrong with Jamaica and why I teamed up with Vybz Kartel to write a
book about same. There is a natural unavoidable disconnect between those who
represent the people of Jamaica and the masses, and while I cannot change the
disconnect, I can change the fact that people still claim ignorance of what
happens to the poor and maybe, just maybe, the next politician who decides to
have a bucket of water thrown over their head or double bus fare or tax bank
deposits, patties and pad; would just take the time to evaluate how their
actions – as simple as they are – will affect the poor. I reiterate, this is
not a threat nor a warning – this is a promise to the poor in Jamaica, there
will be a louder Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto.
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