Jamaica: A place filled with pride and painThursday, October 21, 2021
My heart is full. So much has happened in the past few days in Jamaica which has really amplified the view of many locals that the country is not a real place.
It is really difficult to keep abreast of the latest episodes, especially when the country is still navigating the novel coronavirus pandemic and campaigning to get as many citizens as possible vaccinated.
I have had the opportunity to engage in several cross-cultural exchanges and I am yet to find a nationality that can outdo Jamaicans when it comes on to being ambassadors of their country. No wonder we share the view that being Jamaican is an entire experience.
Our culture is extremely rich and our people are very talented. We excel internationally and are trendsetters in a number of areas. Nonetheless, there are those from among us who, from time to time, taint our good brand through, for example, corruption, scamming, inappropriate sexual behaviours, and crime and violence.
It was refreshing to see that, despite being severely affected by the ongoing pandemic, Jamaica was a top awardee at the recently held World Travel Awards. We came out as the Caribbean's Leading Destination and secured the top spots as the Caribbean Destination Leader for Cruise Shipping, Adventure Tourism, and Nature Tourism. Additionally, the Jamaica Tourist Board was named the Caribbean's Leading Tourist Board. We must commend Minister Edmund Bartlett, the Ministry of Tourism, and their respective partners for the great work they have been doing.
Despite the controversy surrounding the relevance of the office of the governor general, there is a phrase that we admire greatly from Sir Patrick Allen: “There is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed with what is right with Jamaica.” Though there seems to be chaos, corruption, dishonesty, etc, there are still Jamaicans who stand for morals and values and righteousness.
Did you notice the true demonstration of what it means to live as a community when the two girls were abducted in St Thomas recently? The residents collaborated and cooperated with the police force. It is one of the best turnaround times we have had for the rescue of abducted individuals. Thankfully, both girls were found alive.
The residents are, however, adamant that the alleged abductor should be brought to justice – whether civilised or jungle.
Oh, how nice it would be if, on most occasions, we could have the public and the police conduct these raids jointly to reduce the spiralling crime rate and violence in our country. Wouldn't we have safer communities in which we could sleep with our windows and doors open? Maybe that five-year-old child who was killed by a bullet while she was sleeping would have been alive today. Perhaps the children who are repeatedly raped or molested would be spared, and the senior citizens who are robbed and killed would still be among us today.
What kind of Jamaica do you desire for posterity?
The recent allegation of human sacrifices being offered at a St James-based place of worship has left the country in a state of bewilderment.
We usually read, watch, or hear of these things happening elsewhere, but to see them manifest in Jamaica, the capital of Christianity, is beyond alarming. Of course, this is not to say that these occurrences might not have happened in the past, but advanced technology has certainly proved that people are entangled in a lot of mess.
It is quite unfortunate that people believe the utterances from many of the so-called men of God. If a congregant's discernment is not strong he or she could easily fall for whatever a preacher says. It is therefore incumbent on churchgoers to know God for themselves and read the scriptures.
At the same time, people are no longer interested in the 'true' Church. There is a hype that comes with being referred to by certain titles, even non-biblical ones, and people like to be entertained with theatrics and charisma.
Are these eschatological times?
Not everyone subscribes to the religious ideology, but it has become clearer that a higher level of spiritual wickedness is operating within our country and world. The onus is on each of us to do what is important to restore the pride of being a true Jamaican — one that our ancestors have fought for us to have.
Oneil Madden is president of the Jamaica Association of French Teachers (JAFT) and a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at Université Clermont Auvergne, France. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or firstname.lastname@example.org