What does International Reptile Day have to do with us?

Letters to the Editor

What does International Reptile Day have to do with us?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

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Dear Editor,

On entering the main gates of University of Technology, Jamaica, while in the company of a number of colleagues, we were greeted with a news item that Wednesday, October 21, 2020 is International Reptile Day. Amidst the search for relevance, some opined that there now seems to be a day for everything.

However, International Reptile Day is extremely significant to Jamaica on two levels. Firstly, Jamaica is the only country in the world with the natural formation of a crocodile or an alligator — with Portland and St Thomas being the head; May Pen the feet; and Hanover and Westmoreland the tail. Secondly, lying as it does surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica displays similar characteristics to the crocodile or alligator in the water. That is, simultaneously unassuming and tumultuous as reflected in the beauty of tranquillity (paradise) and propensity for destruction (high levels of danger from criminal activities), the crocodile or alligator is dangerous but protected, thus drawing the wrath of residents in coastal areas when they venture outside of their natural habitat and pose a threat to residents, children in particular.

Perhaps this is an opportune time for the Commission on Education Transformation, led by Professor Orlando Patterson and mandated by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, to conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of Jamaica's education system to tell us why there are so many unconnected dots in our education system, such that even at the tertiary level, it is not appreciated that Jamaica is an alligator/crocodile.

Joan Francis

Museum and Heritage Preservation Officer

Lecturer, Archival Appraisal and Access University of Technology, Jamaica


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