Farewell, Sweet Jamaica – Open Letter to my Country

Today (Friday, September 13, 2013), I leave the country of my birth to live in another land. 
(I know I know, Friday the 13th, boohoo! I’m soooo scared *rolls eyes*)

N.B. This was published in the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. You can view that highly edited version here —-> HIGHLY EDITED VERSION

For the original, continue reading.


I take with me, my skills, talents, knowledge and experience(s), as I prepare to expand and use them in the land for which I am bound. As most of you read this, I have already arrived at my new destination. Why did I leave you may ask? I’ll tell you.

Jamaica needs hope; hope that seems to be on the brink of extinction. Hope that surely will not be forthcoming from our leaders–CERTAINLY not this generation anyway. As we speak, the leadership in the opposition Jamaica Labour Party will potentially be up for grabs, and should it change to the potential contender, I don’t know if that would make any positive difference.

Photo from thepolitricks.com
You may ask; is the political system in my new found land perfect? No. Are the societal flaws too? Of course. But, at this point in my young life, those seem a lot more bearable.

Then, there are the job and educational situations. Jamaica does not appreciate its pupils as it ought, and it’s a crying shame for students leaving secondary schools with 10 distinctions who get stuck because they came from poor families who cannot afford to send them further. For those who do go further and excel in university, they are unable to get jobs because they cannot acquire capital to create new businesses, and employers are hiring only their friends and persons who are experienced (i.e. old, needing to retire), all while looking over their shoulders to see if the Student’s Loan Bureau will publish them in the island-wide wall of shame for nonpayment of their loans. 

Those who are trained and qualified watch while we import workers from Asia, Europe and everywhere not named Jamaica, leaving them to twiddle their thumbs while leaders in those countries ensure to cater to their own first. As a resident of my new home, the scope for opportunity is much larger, both geographically and quantitatively.



Goat Islands – Photo Courtesy of the Jamaica Observer
Jamaica can be oppressive, in a sense where the system seems to be set to fail, especially the poor and middle class. That way the rich get richer, and the poor continue to struggle and look to an uncaring government for help and handouts. Our society is supposed to be democratic, but our governments, past and present love to act first and deal with the consequences later. Face it, no matter what the populous says, the outcome of the Goat Islands conversation as the potential spot to house the Logistics Hub will be decided by (and probably is already decided) by the Cabinet’s decision, with little to no thought towards the people’s and environmentalist alarms. As we’ve come to learn, nobody’s voice is heard, unless there’s blocking of roads, brutal murder or an anomaly occurs that draws media attention. It is really sad.

I go to a society, where you can literally “tun yuh han’ and mek fashion” with just about anything, not only clothing; one where you can work in sanitation and custodial services and hold your head high and be proud of your honest living and still be comfortable enough, as opposed to Jamaica where upturned nostrils and empty pockets are the most common sights for these persons, who look forward to Christmas time where they leave little envelopes hoping for a little serendipity. I go to a society, where, though imperfect, the justice system works, and quickly at that. A society, where corrupt persons are caught daily and prosecuted; a society where much care and financial support are given to the educational system; one where there already exists designated school buses, where there isn’t a daily squabble between commuters and public passenger vehicle operators over correct fares, and where state owned buses don’t spew you with toxic, noxious fumes every time they move from a halt. 



Courtesy of translationdirectory.com
Courtesy of the Jamaica Gleaner


Trading








It is a society where, save for the occasional instance where skin colour matters, there is truly equal opportunity for ALL.

I go, to improve myself, and my standard of living for a happier life. But, I will not—CANNOT—forget my sweet Jamaica. No matter the trials and tribulations, ‘nuh weh no betta dan yaad’. I’ll send remittances, and admonish persons to visit. I won’t turn my back on my home. I’ll keep tabs on my island in the sun and continue to engage in debate and conversation with fellow locals on ways to improve life here, because, who knows, maybe like the in the movie ‘Terminator’, “I’ll be back.”


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