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.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We Are Not Unique

Recently I was reminded that we in Jamaica often fall into the trap of thinking that our culture is uniquely bad, and that life in Jamaica is uniquely hard.
As I mentioned in a prior post on Moving from First World to Third, most of the bad things that happen in Jamaica are not all that unique. Instead, they are the kinds of things that happen in every country around the world that have some of the same resource constraints that we have. It strikes me that if we had a bigger world view, we might relax a little and be able to see that our problems are for the most part, common one.
For example, every country around the world that sits between an illegal drug producing country and a consuming country experiences an upsurge in crime as it is used as a transshipment point. If all of a sudden, North Americans were to lose their appetite for illegal drugs, or if they were to legalize drugs, then our crime rate would drop immediately. Lives would simply be saved.
Jamaica sits half-way between Columbia and Miami.
Any country that grows to the point where it reaches full employment will experience an upsurge in traffic (if cars can be purchased freely) and an influx of illegal immigrants.
Trinidad has faced the first, and is about the face the second.
We need to gain a better understanding of the world, the problems being experienced everywhere. That will only come through better education.



At 12/06/2007 7:30 AM, Blogger Dennis Jones said...

Our parochialism has been our undoing for a very long time, which is why it's important to implicate the Diaspora more. Life in Jamaica and elsewhere in the region is charaterised as hard, yet we rarely have large proportions of our population who cannot count on the basics for life: food, water, shelter. It suits a lot of people to sing this siren song, but it's hollow to most of the rest of the world and wont get sympathy. Also the region is not short of resources. Mineral wealth (Jamaica, Trinidad, and Guyana) needs to be harnessed not squandered. Attractions, which bring tourism and its foreign exchange, need to be treated as assets not squandered and spoilt. (Have you visited Milk River Baths recently, and would you rush back?) Highly educated needs to mean functionally literate and worldly smart. Even in Barbados with its reported near 90 percent literacy rate, there are too many people who cannot understand more than the simplest of sentences and concepts. We need to regard foreigners for what they are, not what we think they are. Some are good and can teach us many useful things (eg Coach Simoes), some are charlatans. Some of our own, while good are not the best: we seem afraid of the real exchange of services which would mean being neutral about a Caribbean person becoming a coach in England, and an Australian coach getting the job in Jamaica.

Our politicians need to stop acting like they are special cases when it comes to accountability, though the recent scandal about light bulbs in Jamaica is a hint that we may be getting things right, but it's too early to crow.

At 12/08/2007 1:18 AM, Blogger CaymanJuice said...

You need to read my blog that describes a Jamaicans life in Cayman. I am not Jamaican, but I can see the persecution on a daily basis.


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