Jamaica, where we don’t care
We used to pride ourselves on what you could call Jamaica’s second motto, “Jamaica, no problem.”
Back in the day, this suggested tolerance, optimism, and a positive attitude towards duty, effort, and relationships. Regrettably, the meaning of this blessed motto has morphed into one of lassitude and a gross disrespect for social and physical structures; lack of love for self, others, and nation; and a rejection of the laws of nature and God. As we would say, colloquially, we are “dung cyah”.
The Bible has examples of this latter state, and there are three such examples which might help us to understand why this unfortunate mentality has come to dominate our society.
In Matthew 27:15-26, when the Roman governor, Pilate, demonstrated that Jesus was basically “innocent” and not deserving of his impending crucifixion to the Jewish crowd, they answered, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Now this is a very serious and unconscionable claim, but as Jesus put it, it was also, and primarily, ignorant, and hence Jesus beckoned while on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Howbeit that a taxi driver who broke a line of traffic, hence impeding another line, responded to the advice that “practice makes perfect” by saying that he has been practising this for a long time, which is when he appeared to realise that his actions didn’t translate to him being a good or better driver.
In the story of twin cities Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded with God to reverse His intention to destroy the people of these cities, beckoning him to spare the people if He could find merely 10 “righteous” souls among them; needless to say, not even that few God could find. A commentator once said a long time ago that it was not the harm brought on by his offender that hurt as much as the silence of those who stood by and watched. In Jamaica, the well-intentioned, who are so inclined to act accordingly, are increasingly being outnumbered, over-powered, and stigmatised by those who are not. This can be seen in our road use, our politics, moral and civic duties, and even interpersonal relationships.
Finally, and perhaps most evident, is Jamaicans’ spirit of freedom. It is debatable whether a basic human right, such as freedom, is something that can be given or is inherent? However, like life itself, and all that is “given” to us from it, freedom should be used to the glory of He from whom it came and for His kingdom. These gifts from the Creator are indomitable, not because of our own efforts, men’s doing, and our entitlement but because they represent the truth, which is anything which comes from God.
Contrary to our typical and proud perception of our freedom and sovereignty, Jesus advised that “whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two”. (Matthew 5:38-44) If we should take such a “tan-so-back” stance in the name of God, then we would be on our way to truly being Jamaica, no problem.
Andre O Sheppy