Features

Australia, Bowled Out For Ducks By CARICOM

Written by Ray Damdar

-Aussies gets a taste of de usual ’warm welcome’ Jamaicans receive regarding traveling abroad as Australians make dere World Cup Cricket vacation preparations-

FORT LAUDERDALE, USA: The stipulation by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that Australian and New Zealand citizens must obtain a visa in order to visit the region for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup has resulted in a storm of protest from the Australian public.

Dear Missa Aussie. Welcome to di life of a Jamaican. Wi need a visa fi go any and everywhere because nobady trus wi. Likkle more dem tell wi dat Jamaican needs visa fi go Dunn’s River Falls. Mi woulda luv fi symapitize wid yuh Missa Aussie but una jus a get a taste of de Jamaican plight. Wi ave been dealing wid long lines at farrin embassies fi years. Yuh know ow much time dem deny mi fi Merican visa because dem sey dat mi ave ‘risk of flight’. Of course it is ‘risky to fly’ dese days wid all a de terrorists dem pan plane now. All now mi nuh handerstand wha dem a sey and why mi cyan get a visa.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there are several issues. First is the perception of discrimination against Australians and New Zealanders, when non-cricket playing nations, such as Italy and Japan, are not required to have a visa.

Missa Aussie, mek mi tell yuh dat yuh don’t even know di first ting bout ‘discrimination’. Jamaicans an discrimination ave been best frens fi years jus like tick pan cow batty. We face discrimination even at home. For instance if yuh tek a flight to JA and lan inna Mo-Bay dem ave folk singers wid guitar and straw hat wey a greet yuh because mosly tourists land dere. But if yuh lan inna Kingston nuttin but baggage delay and lost luggage com fi meet yuh cause dat a wey mos locals com thru.

In farrin same ting; once dem see dat yuh ave a Jamaican passport at de airport dem sen a kennel worth a dawg fi come sniff yuh fi jugs. As if all Jamaicans are jug-dealers? And when yuh reach de counta de immigration offica sey “ Oh Jamaica what a lovely country….please step into that room for additional questioning and stretch to the ceiling for me please”.

Second is the apparent impossibility of obtaining such visas in Australia, with at least one travel agent reported as saying that no one from the CARICOM World Cup delegation has responded to her emails.

Dat situation sound like it live up to di Jamaican National Motto “ Soon come “. Sorry dat unno haffi wait pan a response fi unno visa Missa Aussie but yuh know how long wi a wait pan simple tings inna Jamaica. Like when yuh call di police cause tief brok inna yuh house. Dem tek longa dan de time it tek fi clear a barrel from farrin fi reach yuh house. A nex one is de mount a time wey wi a wait fi de Government fi fix de pot hole dem. Bout 4 years now!! Cause dem ongly get fix pan election time. Mr. Aussie what yuh a experience sound like Jamaica from local’s perspective. ‘Jamaica…Nuff problem Mon’.

Third is the cost of the visa (US$100), announced with just three months to go before the start of the World Cup competition, on top of an already expensive trip to the Caribbean from Australia and New Zealand.

Unna gwan like hundred dollas a anyting fi unna. Don’t unno come from first world country wey tax money actually pay fi public services an minimum wage cyan buy more dan a icy mint? In Jamaica Miss Matty woulda sell stinking toe and jackfruit in de market fi tree months and still haffi beg fi mek a hundred US. An if yuh tink Mr. Aussie dat a trip to de Caribbean is expensive try bribing de Jamaican Police when yuh get stop fi a speeding ticket. Yuh haffi tek out a small business loan fi pay dem mos time.

Lastly, the CARICOM World Cup delegation has been described as a “fiasco” by the honorary consul-general to Trinidad and Tobago in Australia, Mike Agostini, who has reportedly resigned “in disgust” at the situation. Furthermore, Mr Agostini says, the delegation couldn’t or wouldn’t pay him for office space he leased for them at their request.

It don’t surprise de lease likkle bit dat smaddy look pan wi inna de Caribbean and tink dat a school bwoys planning fi skull school by sneaking pass di guardy at lunch time ave betta organizing skills dan our World Cup committee. De conditions wi put up wid in JA and de Caribbean are downright disgusting and many of us here too ave resigned to de fact dat dey would rather tek dere chances on a banana boat to farin dan deal wid our country’s present state of affairs.

What yuh seeing Missa Agostini is just de crumbs of a much bigga grata cake worth a problems we deal wid everyday. From the booming population of stray dawgs in JA to de madman dem dat roam de streets of our cities flinging rockstones at pedestrians as if dem a de mayor of de city. If wi cyan deal with dem kinda problems pan a daily basis yuh cyan certainly afford fi deal wid unno dibi-dibi one time visa vacation problems so beg yuh stap complain Missa Aussie.

 

 

About the Author

Ray Damdar is a Jamaican living abroad in Hartford, CT amongst the third largest Jamaican population in Merica. He is constantly amused by his culture having no odda choice but to comment.

Favorite Caribbean proverb “ Mi not going to hang my hat so high dat mi haffi use stick and tek it down”

Article Excerpts in non-bold taken from www.caribbeannetnews.com
‘Furore over CARICOM visas erupts in Australia’ -December 20, 2006 by Michelle McSpadden-

-Photos by Doogla-
Commentry in bold courtesy of Ray Damdar & Guinep Tree Productions.

About the author

Ray Damdar