2 million is no reason for confetti
Even at year-end, non-politicians are hell-bent on taking Jamaicans for buffoons. You would think with a new year coming they would come up with new trickery to fool us.
Some people might grumble, "Jamaicans deserve the government they get because of the way they voted." But Jamaicans deserve respect.
The article "Jamaica welcomes 2 million stopover visitors", and the political excitement around it, proves to us that our politicians are brain-dead. A place like Jamaica should be seeing 10 million visitors a year! With our climate, crystal-clear sea, friendly people, natural beauty, a music that the world likes, fantastic cuisine, home of the world's track stars, and 51 years of practice, two million is a failure.
When I first went to Tallinn, Estonia, in 1989, with my team, I decided I would not go back. Canterbury in St James was a 5-star residential area compared to Tallinn. In 1990, the team travelled there again, we travelled there by ship and left on a plane in a hurry. My wife went there in 2004 and told me the place improved a lot. I still did not go because I was thinking she was looking for company to travel. In 2005, my friend travelled from New York and wanted to visit Tallinn and I drove him to the harbour in Helsinki, and I said: "That is the ship over there and you are on your own." He came back and said, "You must visit Tallinn now."
I went in July 2006, and I now go there every single year. Tallinn has improved so much since independence was restored on August 20, 1991. In 2011, 1.8 million foreign tourists stayed overnight. These 1.8 million does not include day-trippers.
Some people might argue that Helsinki is near Tallinn. So what? So is Florida to Kingston/Montego Bay. Did I mention that Tallinn gets a good amount of snow and cold weather, which keeps people at bay? Did I also mention that six out of 12 months Finland is an icebox? Their numbers now waver between a high of four million and a low of five million.
Now, the questions we need to ask our politicians are: Why are those small islands seeing those kinds of figures, and when Jamaica sees a mere two million, the politicians' glad bag burst? What is it they have that we don't?
Jamaicans should now ask themselves, would I swim in shark- infested water? What does that question mean? Why would a person want to vacation somewhere that is constantly on the edge? The reason people avoid Jamaica is because of the high crime rate. According to the latest border interview survey, Finland received 7.6 million foreign visitors in 2012. Foreign visitors brought euro 2.3 billion to Finland in one year.
Those are figures I would gladly jump off Flat Bridge for, head first. Anyway, I would like to wish my beloved people back home a prosperous new year and hope it will be better than last year.