Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

80%? Could it be true?

Recently, the World Bank estimated that some 80% of Jamaicans who have graduated from tertiary institutions live abroad.

Click here for the article

I remember hearing the number and hoping that it just was not true. But here it is -- we are right there with Haiti in having some of the highest numbers, in the company of other poor countries. It matches some other surveys done in Jamaica that show that 80%+ of my countrymen would migrate if they were given the chance.

What the heck are we in a rush to migrate from, exactly?

I was cycling up to Flamstead this past weekend, and a fellow cyclist and I were marvelling at how beautiful Jamaica is. We both followed that remark with agreement that if we could only do something about the crime...

Which makes me think that if we could only do something about poverty, then that would solve everything.


Well, maybe not. I visited Ghana once and remember seeing greater poverty, and much, much less crime (although there was much more begging.) Obviously, it is not just a matter of how much money or possessions one has.

Maybe it is linked to the income disparity that exists in Jamaica?

But no, why would I turn to crime just because there are rich people living nearby?

I would also need to resent them, I imagined, in order to get to the point where I would be willing to hurt them to take away their possessions.

Resentment. Is that not another word for intolerance? An intolerance of the wealthy?

This seemed to ring true. So, I'm adding this to the ways in which our intolerance exists in Jamaica, and manifests in so much destructive behaviour.


At 4/01/2006 6:05 AM, Blogger Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Francis,
Great blog.
The "flight of the creative class" may also be due to lack of appreciation for their efforts.
The resentment that simmers in the island is fueled not only by the inequality of wealth and power, but the acquistion of wealth and power has often perceived as being gained dishonestly through color, class, and "connections".
If an individual thinks these are the barriers, then s/he loses that sense of agency and will seek other places (3T's).

At 4/04/2006 5:27 AM, Blogger fwade said...


I like reading a comment from a real person (with a name,and a face!) There is something a bit strange about having a serious conversation with "anonymous" -- which happens more often than not here in the blogsphere.

I think you are quite right -- makes me want to write something about it. I too have had my moments cussing off "The Big Man Dem," but when I started reading the biographies of some of the Lebanese families that are now big in Jamaica, they basically came here empty-handed -- which any entrepreneur can relate to.

Thanks for the comment -- it's making me think, and that cannot be a bad thing.

At 4/04/2006 9:30 AM, Blogger Geoffrey Philp said...

I'm finishing up an essay that may be published next week in So far, the working titles are "We and Them" or "The 3C's of Jamaican Life: Class, Color and Connections".

The Lebanese businessmen who came to Jamaica have kept their families intact, so that is one source of wealth and stabilty. We can learn from that. When I was in Jamaica, I know these Lebanese men also married girls from the homeland--it wasn't Jamaica. And although they weren't European, they occupied an "honorary white status" which granted them access to power and wealth that a Black man from, say Westmoreland, wouldn't have. I'm not saying this to be divisive. It's a historical reality. I'm saying what can we learn and how can we heal these divisions.
What I'm aso saying is that we haven't yet developed a sense of mission--a synergistic center-- and without that, we will continue to be fragmented and thrown into the diaspora.

At 4/05/2006 3:53 PM, Blogger fwade said...


Let us know when you have posted it up, please.

At 4/11/2006 11:34 PM, Blogger Geoffrey Philp said...

Posted it today:


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