The under 35ers, 30’s are not grounded enough in ‘self’ to appreciate the journey and not the sprint race. Many as we say come from a ‘decent background’ meaning a level of ‘broughtupsey’ was instilled in them. Unfortunately despite their outward appearance, dressed immaculately and well groomed, for many their self esteem is so low, that constant affirmation and the sense of belonging to a group are of the utmost importance. If the group, friends, or associates are going down a slippery slope/path, they opt to follow just to be part of. They much rather be compared to others as being the ‘same’ rather than developing their own ‘self’ and make the choices that deep down they know are right.
Our consumption for the ‘get rich quick’, always in the best or the ‘expensive’ knowing full well that the pay check on its own cannot justify the acquisition has become an addiction. An addiction that leads our youths and many young professionals into a lifestyle of pure debauchery and shame. To mask this shame many become depressed and a feeling of unhappiness fills their soul daily. They dance, sway, and pretend that all is well but as it is known ‘selling of the soul’, becomes more important than accepting their true self. Life was not borne for the sprinters but actually for the marathoners; that fact escapes them.
Many will have to learn their own lesson as painful as it will be and for those who will listen and take heed, then speeches such as this one to graduating classes can have an impact if only for a few or even for one. Twenty five (25) years ago, a youngster who got their first job would be elated and happy with the employment and felt comfortable with the salary small as it was with the intention of filling the basket ‘one cocoa at a time’. Fast forward and you will see a under 30 or under 35er owning their first vehicle making monthly payments which undoubtedly cost more than what they earn a fortnight. If not making monthly payments, you are told it was a gift from a benefactor; often times the deed to the vehicle is in the benefactor’s name.
Until our people from an early age learn to develop a healthy self esteem and accept their beginnings poor, middle or affluent knowing that they can achieve and become all that life has to offer without illicit gains or immoral choices in life, the deadly choices made will be ever rampant. Your life is even more exciting when you reflect on your beginnings comparing where you are now and where you intend to go, with the solid foundation set that you did not ‘sell your soul’ to achieve. Only then will you truly rest well, attaining peace which is the optimal.
A life without peace is only a ‘pretend’ one, leaving a gap, void, that when you are alone in the confines of your space only aches that causes you pain becomes your reality.
Audrey Marks’s drugs temptation
Marks would fly to various countries to buy and sell
(Jamaica Observer) Sunday, July 05, 2015
MANAGING Director of Paymaster Jamaica Ambassador Audrey Marks thought about what she could do with money earned from trafficking in drugs, but opted against the illegal activity, having realised that she was not born and raised to indulge in such a thing.
Ambassador Marks, who served as Ambassador to the United States between 2008 and 2012, was relating a story to members of the graduating class of St Mary High School recently, which left the audience in awe.
A daughter of Dressikie, western St Mary, who attended the nearby Marymount High School before finishing high school at Immaculate Conception, Marks said that while she worked with the then national airline Air Jamaica, the temptation arose following a discussion with a relative.
She would fly to the United States, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean and Canada to buy and sell commodities to supplement her income.
This came closer to the end of the 10 years she spent at Air Jamaica, starting out as a filing clerk, then accounting clerk, and assistant to the vice president for marketing and Sales, and during that time completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees part-time.
“As my weekend business grew, I expanded in the USA, UK, the Caribbean and finally Canada. I started taking boxes of rum to Toronto. After a year I had built up a thriving business. It was hard work, however, lugging two to three suitcases of rum, sometimes with a substantial amount of breakage if they were not packed properly. The only saving grace was that although the Canadian customs could charge for every bottle, most of the time they allowed free entry. These were the late 80s to early 90s before 9/11 when travel and security measures were far less restrictive.
“Hence, after a while, I had become such a regular Friday evening visitor, I was mostly just waved through customs. On one such occasion, a dear relative was picking me up. He noted my quick exit through customs and seemed very interested in my methodology.
“After answering his many questions, he finally came to the point and told me I could make thousands of dollars without lugging all those boxes, if I would just take an occasional package of drugs from Jamaica. While being initially shocked at the suggestion, on hearing the amount of money I would earn for doing far less work, I listened,” Ambassador Marks told the gathering at the St Mary High School auditorium in Highgate, Central St Mary.
What followed later for the woman who had set her sights on becoming President of Air Jamaica, was a decision that would change her life forever and set her conscience free.
“That night, I thought of what I could do with all that money, but I also started to think about what would happen if I got caught doing something that I knew was illegal.
“I could not sleep easily; it was a battle of the value system I was raised with and the desire to have easy riches. But as I thought about this opportunity, I felt a disconnect with the image of myself as the president of a company and someone who did illegal activities. And that was it; the decision became easy, my audacious plan of becoming President of Air Jamaica was far more important than quick money,” she related.
“Years later, I was asked to serve my country as the Ambassador to the United States. In my initial briefing, I was told that a very detailed due diligence on my background will be done and asked if there is anything that could be found that I would wish to disclose from now. I did not have to give it a second thought, the answer was an easy ‘no’ because I had asked myself that question many years ago,” she said.
She implored the graduating class to resist the temptation, like she did, to venture into drug trafficking or other illegal activities.
“Times are difficult and you may be approached, but getting involved in any form of illegality — stealing, scamming, drug-running, gun-running to even the simplest form of wrong activity — is contrary to giving yourself the opportunity to live out your most audacious self without fear or favour,” Ambassador Marks said.
The Paymaster managing director told the Jamaica Observer on Friday that she wanted to warn the young minds that
“the group that is being targeted is youth between 15 and 29. They are the real victims and it comes down to a lack of opportunities.”
“I was trying to share with them that it’s not where you are coming from, but how important it is to make the right choices. You can start small, but you must have a goal and take the opportunities to achieve your goal, and not get sidetracked.
“I am also frightened by the number of girls who are involved in drugs. Some of them are able to recover, but some never do,” Ambassador Marks told the Sunday Observer.
See text of Marks’ speech to the graduating class of St Mary High School on pages 26 and 27.