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, July 03, 2008

Jamaica All Over

This past week or two was an interesting one in the New York Times.

There were three separate stories about Jamaica that highlighted completely different aspects of the island. The prominent placement of the stories, showed how this small island of 2.6 millions people exerts an influence on the world that is vastly out of proportion to its size.

The first story was about multi-million dollar real estate that is currently on sale in an exclusive community on the north coast. Apparently, the crime rate is not stopping big investors from moving to Jamaica.

Click here for the real estate article.

The second had to do with the Jamaican Olympic trials, pitting the two fastest men in the world (and of all time), and many of the fastest women. It got second billing in American reports to the US trials, but the underlying sub-text was that Jamaica has faster runners in all the sprint events. These are the events that happen to get the lion's-share of attention in the entire Olympic Games.

Click here for the Olympic trials report.

The third was a report of Jamaicans and other Jamaica-philes cooking jerk chicken on the streets of New York.

Click here for the article on Jerk.

Jamaica, even with all its challenges, remains a country of great interest to the world at large, and brings smiles to people worldwide when they think of the "brand."

I remember my Turkish dorm-mate (back in 1985) singing Bob Marley songs to me, and the fact that some of them were in his own language made me smile, and first made me realize that Jamaica's image around the world is multi-faceted, distinct and powerful.



At 7/07/2008 2:08 PM, Blogger Long said...

What do those articles tell you?

1. That the Jac'n govt is still in the PSOJ's pocket, so that we can have national policies to court wealthy people to buy and sell pieces of the country for exorbitant amounts, all of which goes into the hands of PSOJ members,and none of it to support the local infrastructure by paying adequate amounts for taxes or wages.

2. That at the same time that Jamaicans love to big up farrin, we discover that life in places like Brooklyn is not much different from living in downtown Kingston. These immigrants toiling and hustling on the streetside sure seems exotic - that's what the NYTimes article is about after all - as long as they remain in the confines of the immigrant community. Like everything else, they have little control over their product or their livelihood, not in how its represented nor whether they will eventually outmaneuver other folks who are willing to invest and use a different kind of capital to outimagine and outsell these food peddlers.

3. That there are athletes from Jamaica competing in the Olympics. Period.

Please refrain from the propagandizing that suggests that everytime Jamaica is mentioned somewhere that it has or says anything to do with being great or special. Because we don't think much beyond "big up jamaica", empty nationalist rhetoric is all we have left when faced with substantive questions and discussions about what we do with what the resources we have. Your blog certainly doesn't need to pander to such attitudes.

At 7/17/2008 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big ups Jamaica.

Long... are you part of the problem, or the solution?

Francis, please thank your wife for introducing me to Tarrus Riley.



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