Leave Usain alone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012    

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Dear Editor

In the Jamaica Observer of September 11, you published an article written by MP Lloyd B Smith "H'emphasise your h'aitches".

It is time for Mr Smith and the other proponents of "officialising" our Jamaican patois to wake up and smell the roses.

Jamaica is not an island by itself. We live in a big, wide world and we love to extend ourselves beyond our shores. Our ability to communicate with the world is critical to our development. We have enough problems now without adding the variable of not being able to be understood.

Great efforts were made to develop call centres, particularly in the same Montego Bay that Mr Smith represents in Parliament. It was said that this would be successful because we speak English. Well, the call centres have not been successful because our youngsters who were employed do not speak English and they are now out of jobs.

Why does Mr Smith not support his own minister of education, who knows that in order to communicate effectively with a wide cross section of people, a good command of the English language is essential?

Mr Smith, we all speak patois. Yes, the lawyers, teachers, doctors, journalists, bank managers - and you - know when to speak patois. We also know when to speak English. Perhaps we will make mistakes, but not even the English are perfect.

Stop trying to hold our people down. Give our young people a chance. And please, leave Usain alone! He has done very well for himself and while he speaks patois, he also mixes it with English especially during his interviews with the international media. He knows that to communicate with the rest of the world, he has to be understood. Isn't that the point of any communication?

Dorothy Whyte






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