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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Nasty Jamaicans Abroad

In my prior post about the lies that we Jamaicans tell about how sweet "foreign" is, I forgot to mention that particular breed of Jamaican who has nothing good to say about their own country.

Many of them were middle-class Jamaicans who left in the 1970's.

They left to escape a communist threat that never materialized. Talk of Castro, Cubans everywhere and socialism turned out to be a whole lot of ... talk. Without the help of those who left, Jamaica did not come close to becoming a communist state, and our democracy is as vibrant as ever.


However, the 1970's were the days when one's neighbours were here today, and gone tomorrow. Jamaicans migrated without telling parents, children brothers and sisters what they were doing. Companies were abandoned, US dollars were smuggled out and an entire middle-management class left like thieves in the night. They sold their houses for a song (enabling many to upgrade), and companies struggled to fill the void -- some say Jamaica is still suffering from that sudden migration.

As a youngster in school, it was an invasion of the body-snatchers as classmates were literally here today and gone tomorrow, on one of those "five flights a day to Miami" that Manley foolishly urged them to take.

Lawyers left Kingston to become janitors in Toronto. Doctors left Montego Bay to become nurses in Miami.

It was a sad, stupid time, and many who left did so bitterly.

Now, it is clear to all that they made a mistake.

Yet, even while Americans and Canadians ask migrated Jamaicans how they could ever leave such a beautiful place, there are some whose response is poison... they have absolutely nothing good to say about Jamaica.

They find fault with everything and everyone from their homeland. They follow the news carefully... only to use it to justify their need to be living in a one bedroom apartment in the South Bronx, rather than in their 4 bedroom home in Norbook. This week I heard a couple of people call into local talk-shows from New York and Toronto -- complaining from thousands of miles away about what is happening in the country they left almost thirty years ago.

Who is to blame?

No clue.

But the continuation of that anger is very, very costly for us all.

2 Comments:

At 1/24/2007 4:29 PM, Blogger Rhythmwize said...

But Francis, don't forget, these people are sending back money which helps the Jamaican economy immensely, so it aint all negative.

Here's an excerpt from a Caribbean Net News article in 2004:

A Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) study last year reported that in the last 50 years, at least one million Jamaicans migrated to the UK, the US and Canada, 59 per cent of whom settled in the US. Their contribution to Jamaica's economy and growth over the years has been phenomenal and continues to grow.

For example, remittances have grown exponentially over the last 10 years, rising to US$1.3 billion last year, which exceeds the amount earned in the same period through tourism.

 
At 1/26/2007 8:13 AM, Blogger fwade said...

R-wize,

That is true -- the vast majority are not the few Nasty ones.

I doubt that the Nasty ones I have met are sending anything back, and if they are, it comes with some "bad wuds" (i.e. curse words) attached...

Thank goodness there are not that many in number, but they tend to be quite vocal.

The impact of Jamaicans who send money home (of which I was one for until moving back myself) is substantial, and a bit sobering.

A subject for a different post, I think.

 

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