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Dialectical issues which hinder Jamaica's prosperity


Friday, November 16, 2018

The region we live in is made up of the West Indies-Anglophone states of some five million for which the eponymous cricket team and university are named, plus the core Caribbean islands the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, some 50 million people, and nations washed by the Caribbean sea in excess of 200 million. It is big, yet Caricom labelled dozens of agencies “Caribbean” from a final court to a fashion show, which are only West Indian-majority blacks, ruled by blacks, 'hug up' slavery, and emboldened by “the arrogance of English” which is a minority language.

Black leaders create mischief in the Caribbean by dissing the majority, but Federation and Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) proves they can't fight geography by racial choices. We will never have Guyana, Trinidad, or Belize as effective partners in anything but chat. West Indian tourism is dishonest and uses the languid romance of Latin islands to sell black nations. Events advertised as Caribbean is deception, to use the Latin zeitgeist, but exclude the core Caribbean who live it. Our music is slavery angst and does not sell tourism, not even in Africa. In this 21st century we know flowing gowns, bandanas are theirs; cultural, artistic, music events, etc, less so. We invite people from Europe, Asia, Americas, even Africa; but never from Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico next door — racism?

In London Spanish Caribbean people were outed from “Notting Hill” carnival until white people shamed West Indians by asking, “Aren't you close neighbours in the Caribbean?” West Indians speechless at their racism laid bare! Our fishermen are at home trading drugs, guns, and making creole babies in these lands, but none in Trinidad or Guyana. Images of carnival are Google composites of brown islands and makes sense as black does not sell tourism. Jamaicans want to be brown. No top black is without a browning and bleach to get there — to each his own! CSME, like old Federation, did not allow brown islands in, and Jamaican leaders did not oppose it — shame! Out of many one is local only. I am glad Prime Minister Andrew Holness went to the Dominican Republic, but he should do Cuba, Puerto Rico, and get our local “belt and road” going.

Academia is obsessed with 200-year-old slavery not prosperity. We need big texts on African trans-Sahara, trans-Indian Ocean and Trans-Atlantic slaveries so we get facts. They elevate some who write advocacy tracts and bypass many who posit economic solutions — shame on you! So why don't they like Spanish people in our backyard? Peeps say they are jealous of brown skins as Latins freely and openly mixed with their slaves. Their mixed race sons were sent to militaries of France and Spain to be real professionals; we had “Dads army!” Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle were “saps”. Now we choose to deal with the imperialist Spain, not the colonials — reverse racism? In 70 years of self-government; leaders spoke of breaking divide and rule with Spanish but never did. Our academics 'fetishise' slavery and blackness above character, values or growth. Which wise men include piss-poor, black Haiti, but exclude brown Dominican Republic one hour from us the fastest-growing nation in the region? Racist to the core!

So is it size? Every CSME member has one vote. It's not fair, but our leaders signed. The Dominican Republic is an 11 million market close to us — wow! Is it economics why CSME exclude them yet took in Dutch members? Is it difference in jurisprudence? They trade big time with the same nations we do — no problem? So why? Big, mixed race, Taino, white and mestizo fought colonial powers and signed treaties which endure. West Indian wars of words were won in the British Parliament and the Colonial Office bribed planters with 20 million to give up title to black slaves. So we grudge their bravery and send delegations to Namibia, Europe, South Africa, Estonia? Peeps say the Dominican Republic is too close and politicians want air miles — what! Air miles are worth hundreds of millions. What is Cabinet's policy on air miles? This could fund travel by sport teams or to police, nurses, teachers. Auditor General, who gets our prime minister's air miles?

Peeps say aid agencies may want to keep English and Spanish separate for career enhancement — really? So who owns Jamaica? My cognitive dissonance on this matter is clear. I feel we own it, but we have no receipt or treaty. The USA bought Puerto Rico and the Phillipines for $20 million and have papers: Cuba, the Dominican Republic won wars and treaties in their museums. I was never able to explain our right to title to my history class. Was it adverse possession? Check your land title; what you paid for is the right to keep and care Her Majesty's Crown lands. We do not own Jamaica. This is more fundamental than reparation and one day mercenaries may plant a flag on Hellshire Beach and as in Cuba, Falklands war! Zimbabwean whites were ousted and went to their ancestor's homelands. Americans ousted many from Pacific islands to test military devices. Would we go to Africa of our ancestors willingly? Should we lawyer-up? Stay conscious!

Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK); and lectures in logistics and supply chain management at Mona School of Business and Management, The University of the West Indies. Send comments to the Observer or