Home Jamaica's Culture & Heritage 20 THINGS JAMAICANS DON’T WANT TO KNOW



It took me 5 days to put pen to paper for this piece. 5 days of thinking, wondering should I just get it out of my system. It was very easy to reach my conclusion. Yes, I had to get it off my chest as I was taught if you want to see change, say something and let the chips fall where they may.

I follow the PM’s lead. I usually don’t watch the local media houses as their pathetic attempt to deliver what is considered the ‘national ‘ news is watching 2 presenters sit and read boring scripts or gossiping at worst. But every now and then I check in to see what scene the clowns are acting out on the stage and sure enough it was a continuing comedy of errors, from the continuing Michael Dean saga to the daily bushfires and water problems. It is incessant. We cannot seem to solve our simplest problems.

Over the past 5 days, I have come to the conclusion that this comedy started 52 years ago when our statesmen Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley took the country on the road to independence from the English tyrant. Some may not want to acknowledge or admit it, but Bustamante and Norman Manley failed to initiate a plan. Subsequent leaders had their own ideas, based on their political perspective of where this country should be headed. There was no collective gathering of the greatest minds in Jamaica to map out a plan that we all can agree, establishing a definition of the Jamaican  Dream, that ideal that every Jamaican can buy into and work towards.

A country that fails to plan, plans to fail.   Jamaicans, all  1.6 million of them, were preoccupied with political warfare and skullduggery moving from the brink of communism to the other extreme of outright capitalism. Our leaders were fighting each other, poisoning Jamaicans to take sides. The classic black man internal trust and struggle prevailed and who suffered, the people without wealth. And so we struggled, struggled to make the right choices: what type of government, what type of infrastructure, what  type of economy, health care, social systems, security, education and most importantly we struggled to create a Bill of Rights that every Jamaican can enjoy and use as their guiding light towards social and economic upliftment. The Jamaican Dream turned a nightmare and now the dream is to get a visa and enjoy every other country’s dream.

Through trial and error, we worked, we strived, we laughed, we cried, we mourned, we fell 52 times and we stood up 53 times,  such is the resilience of Jamaica and its people. But there are only a few things in this world that irks me and turn me into a giant squid and that is when our present leaders,  on both sides of the isle, pretend to show leadership and resilience. Collectively they make the actors of Laff it Off look like amateurs. Our leaders are still clueless on the path this country should take and are presently at the steering wheel seemingly heading over a precipice. It is as if we are still walking on the plantation digging and searching for a pot of Gold.

In 52 years we still cannot fix a leaking pipe that spills water for months, yet we talk about conserving water. 52 years and we still have not figured out the difference between religion and politics that never the 2 shall meet in the forum. We still have not figured out the type of education that educate our people or the one that turns them into collective zombies. 52 years later we have no clue of the economic engine needed to run this country and if we do have a clue no plan to get that engine firing on all 8 cylinders. . We still have no clue of creating a country of Justice for all where the poorest of the poor know their rights.   The list is vast but the basic necessities of life is a luxury for many . in Jamaica the most popular word in all sectors is NO.  It is as if the Jamaican people are always doing something wrong to put them at odds with any government agency or local business for that matter.

What we have managed to be very good at is expressing most vocally that we are a Christian nation, whatever that means. In a country of many religious practices, some government officials are proclaiming Jamaicans are ‘backsliding’  hence our country is suffering because we have turned from God, I am paraphrasing here. The recent pronouncements of the junior Minister for Entertainment and Culture actually chided  Jamaicans, admonishing them to turn back to God and when a Jamaican speaks Anti- God that makes him suddenly un-Jamaican.

……..”I said that being atheist and agnostic is Un-Jamaican. I also said that it has become fashionable to make anti-God pronouncements, and those doing so should stop. I stand firmly by both statements….”  Damion Crawford.

Really Mr. Minister?  a statement like that is fashioned by the people that control your mind. God, as you know him Mr. Minister is a completely different person to someone else, no definition is exclusive.  When a politician speaks like that it reminds me of another guy called Hitler whose pronouncements created the worlds, first tyrant because he wanted things HIS way. In this case, if you are not a Christian,  like the minister and do not recognize God, then a pox on your house.

Mr. Minister when some of us left the plantation we left behind all vestiges of manipulation and mental corruption and started to think for ourselves and guess what  Mr. Minister, we are Jamaicans, free-thinking  Jamaicans. I define a country of the sum of parts living homogeneously sharing a common heritage and culture, each man individually adding their own flavor to the human mix while creating his own karma maintaining peace in the society. Your definition of a country is:

……the majority accepted norms to form a country. Jamaica is a Christian country full stop. We have Rastafarians, Jews, Muslims etc, but the accepted norm is Christianity. In the same way that some countries are defined as bi-lingual because of the high representation of secondary languages while others are simply defined as Spanish speaking or English Speaking etc because their isn’t a material number of other languages represented. …”  Damion Crawford

That’s where we differ on interpretation. You are an educated man, Think for yourself, leave your books written by those who care to brainwash you and think objectively. Jamaica has a religious heritage. It is not a Christian country. There I said it. Unfortunately for you, I am still very much a Jamaican.  In this country, there are many norms.  The accepted norm for you is the norm accepted by the new oligarchy, the ones that determine what  Jamaicans think. Yes, Mr. Minister, it suits the government to brainwash people to think they live in a Christian country. I am not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance. Jamaica belongs to Jamaicans, not any leader, a religious or political aspirant. If your navel string plant here, you belong here, whether you call God  God, Allah, Jah, El Shaddai, Ohm, whatever!

For you to say not paying homage to our slave owner’s contribution to our human development by implanting in our psyche what God is while he lashes our skin with whips and chains,  is frankly showing us that your mind is still a slave to the system. The learned gentleman has gone mad.  Sometimes I wonder if this country is run by smart people or by religious or bellicose noises who really mean what they say. The effects of slavery is still evident. Mr. Minister, we need a plan to really abolish slavery once and for all.

It irks me every day. Learned, seemingly intelligent people cannot get their act together. So I have listed 20 things that I believe Jamaicans don’t want to know, pretending that ignoring them they will suddenly go away.

1.Leaders:  Jamaicans are suffering from a serious disease called Leader Madness Disease. We do not have a present leader that knows the way, walks the way and shows us the way. Along with this, there is a cacophony of jokers called Ministers of government from both sides of the isle. The Jamaican dies in the hands of politicians from political skullduggery and strangling bureaucracy. Instead of fighting to excel, the Jamaican fight daily to survive the obstacles and hurdles placed before him. It is a constant battle.

2. History: We never learn from history. History has shown us that when we work together we strive together. This simple equation is still incomprehensible to the Jamaican. The effects of the plantation is evident here.

3. False Belief: We believe that politicians can change. How many times have they shown us their colors and true self and yet we continue to elect them as if the carousel of politics is a rotating Wheel of Fortune?

4. Religion: We believe God will help us if we follow our pastor and pray and when you are done praying, leave your collection. Ghandi said, “ Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics don’t know what religion is.”  It is as if unless we go to church daily and pay our tithes then we will forever be doomed.  The problem is while the people are praying they are stealing from their pocketbooks. Religion starts wars. Pastors preach hate. Beware of the false prophet. Even demons can cry out Praise the Lord.

5. Matriarch: We are a matriarchal society with a strong affinity to work overseas and send money believing being away from the problem is not your problem. Living in Switzerland or having the famous green card does not suddenly not make you Jamaican. Open you mouth and your identity defines you. The frequent words “I love my country” is as empty as the lips that utters them. Long distance love in any relationship will only work when there is plan to cut the distance.

6. Crime: Jamaicans are psychologically just as bad as the cops they resent.. Jamaicans kill Jamaicans for the same reason the police kills Jamaicans. We do not value each other.

7. Society: There are 2 societies in this country- the society of wealth who are the new slave owners and the society of workers that pander to the wealthy. Within those 2 societies, we don’t trust each other.  We have created successfully the Haves and the Have Nots.

8. Money Machine: For some people , namely the working class , no matter what your accomplishment, your home, your car or your education you are still a money machine for the government to squeeze every last bit of penny in the name of providing services for the sole purpose of financing pork barrel politics to the people they pander to for votes at election time.

9. Backwardness: We are virtually still in the year 1962 but physically in 2014,  a majority of Jamaicans are still struggling to catch up to the world’s technology and education. We feed our mind with the excuse that we are a small island so our actions make it right. The real problem is technology replaces unskilled workers. We are so behind the Internet revolution when will we catch up?

10. Dirty State: Our reference to Jamaica as Yard is exactly equal to how a chicken lives in a yard…dirty!  This country is dirty and we claim to be a tourist destination.

11.Values:  We claim to be a Christian country and yet the least of our brothers still go hungry and homeless. We have no moral authority to call this country a Christian country any more than Israel have a right to call Palestine their home.

12. Economy: The reason why we are in an economic problem is because suddenly we got up and hated who we are and decided to be someone else. We stopped producing from the soil and started importing to live like Americans and now we are paying the price. The IMF one size fits all package will continue to put this country in turmoil if there is not a parallel economic performance of export, export, export.

13. Stress: A majority of Jamaicans are living with stress.  Jamaicans are so accustomed to no miracles that any chance of celebrating an event or person that shines in sports or otherwise provides the necessary release.

14. Police: The  Jamaica police is here to protect and serve the people of Jamaica. In reality, they have decided to fight the Enemy of the State. That enemy is the people of Jamaica.  Justice is weighed according to the size of your pocket.

15. Trust: We don’t trust each other. As Jamaicans and emancipated blacks coming out of slavery, we have never really learned to trust anyone, and our leaders have done nothing but lip service to correct this.

16. Children: Our children are lead astray and it’s our fault, no one else.

17.Weapon: The Church is the politician and the wealthy’s greatest weapon against society.

18. Help: We are quick to call on somebody to come and help Jamaica, China, the IMF whoever is willing to hand out,  not realizing that the “somebody’ is Us, Me, You!

19 Politicians:  Our politicians, the leaders we elect to move us forward are so passive and clueless it is easy for them to rely on the IMF  or the Jamaican people to blame them for their failure. No politician will lay down his life for any Jamaican. Those days of chivalry died 52 years ago.

20. Changing: Jamaica is a changing society yet the government’ does not recognize this. The government is as static as a conservative trying to move one leg forward. Government’s best effort is to strong arm the people they lead that are poor mentally and physically. The PM is in love with the poor as much as the poor is in love with her but they do not communicate with each other. They smile, they hug they even sip cocoa tea under the coconut tree but the government sees poor people as problems well before they are seen as people. It is in the politician’s interest to keep poor people poor, after all in the Jamaica wealth is something to aspire to and the poor is something the PM loves.

Paul Tomlinson