Colonialism was good for Jamaicans

Colonialism was good for Jamaicans

Thursday, September 24, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Obviously, it was expected that after Barbados announced its intention to become a republic Jamaican copycats would demand that we follow suit. Despite their distaste for British rule, the reality is that the most successful black countries in the world are in the Caribbean, with the exception of some former British colonies in Africa.

Many studies suggest that, on average, countries with a history of British rule are better off and the benefits of colonialism outweigh the costs. Contrary to widely held opinions, Jamaica is not poor due to colonialism; our reversal of fortunes started in the 1970s. In short, Jamaicans have failed to build anything superior to British institutional legacies. Unlike rich countries, we do not have organisations like the Guggenheim Foundation or the Wellcome Trust.

The sad truth is that too many Jamaicans prefer to wallow in the past and blame others for their problems than to fix the country. People build great states, the Government is only a facilitator of development. However, it appears that most Jamaicans lack the autonomy to create an exceptional society. We can listen to minstrels claiming that the British created a mess or mature and face reality. But, by all accounts, since Jamaicans are sentimental people they are likely to prefer the former, and as such the country will continue its deterioration. Therefore, the only conclusion one might form is that colonialism was really good for Jamaicans.

Lipton Matthews

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