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Garvey would be disappointed with us, says UNIA head

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 04, 2014    

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HEAD of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Steven Golding says the late national hero would be disappointed with the state of the country as well as Jamaicans if he were alive.

Golding, son of former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, said that while some Jamaicans were doing their best to continue what the nation's heroes had started, a large number of citizens have failed miserably in their efforts to continue the struggle started by the country's forefathers.

He was speaking with the Jamaica Observer on Friday, Emancipation Day.

"We are not doing the things we need to do (as a people)," said Golding, who feels Jamaicans have fallen down in a number of areas.

"We have run away from the issue of race... fearful of backlash [and] we have not taught our children to embrace (the black race) and to unite, creating a structured organised African Diaspora that trade with each other and that has economic systems that are connected to each other," said Golding.

"Marcus Garvey would not be happy because we are not moving towards the African empire that he urged us towards," said Golding, adding that national hero George William Gordon was hanged for trying to make some changes in terms of land ownership in this country, yet Jamaicans continue to live in ghettos.

"We uses to live in slave quarters, now we live in ghettos and garrisons," said Golding, as he questioned whether enough had been done for land reform since Independence.

Golding said, too, that he was disappointed that a number of Jamaicans still yearned for a European identity. "Our education is still Eurocentric and our government, our political, and our economic system still has an umbilical attachment to Europe," he said.

"We were given no reparation from slavery, we were given no income during the apprentice period. Where are we now in terms of even the wealth of this country? There are no major black businesses out there and there are no major black economic imports in the country.

"... Many of our ancestors probably harboured the hope of a return to Africa -- their homeland -- knowing that is where they were stolen from, but now we have a population where Jamaicans are ready to tell you that they are not even Africans. How could our ancestors be happy with that?"

Jamaicans, he said, need to realise that that we are not liberated as Africans and have not paid back the debt to their ancestors in terms of freeing themselves, pointing out that there are too many young men in prison and too many women falling prey to prostitution.

"We like to use the phrase in Jamaica 'at-risk youth', but we are a race at risk in general," said Golding.

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