This month John Casey, a US retiree living in Jamaica, delve into some of that feedback/questions he has gotten over the year since he been writing this series.
Jamaica Magazine

Feedback to Questions on Moving to Jamaica by American Retiree in Jamaica

It has been over a year since I wrote my first article about “Retiring
to Jamaica.” The feedback from my articles has been far more than I ever
anticipated. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has sent an inquiry or comment. This month I would like to delve deeper into some of that feedback.

1) The largest response has been from people who want to move to Jamaica to start a
new life. There are several reasons that would make this move difficult, if not
impossible. With unemployment so rampant, a non Jamaican would need a highly skilled
or specialized profession to secure a position in the workplace. One exception would
be to purchase an existing business or start a new one. One or two year work
permits are required for all foreigners and must be obtained in Kingston. A one year
permit is just under $700 US.

For those with children, the schools aren’t quite up to the level of US standards,
mainly due to overcrowding. This makes individual attention very difficult. Extra
curricular activities are also lacking. One option is the church run private
schools.

Most schools do not have school buses thus leaving each student to find their own
way to school. Many students walk or take a taxi, while other parents organize car
pools.

2) Another big response has been about purchasing or building a home in Jamaica.
The easiest way is to purchase an existing home. There are countless numbers of homes
for sale across the island in all price ranges. There are even many familiar real
estate agents island wide, such as Century 21 and Coldwell Bankers. Listings can
also be found on the web. Most of these listings have extensive photos to help you
narrow your selection. Please keep in mind, some of those pictures can be quite old,
and they are only showing you the best of what they have to offer. I recently viewed
a property for one of my readers. The pictures presented on the web were very
appealing but this expensive house was less than a hundred feet from the main highway,
did not have a security fence or grilled doors and windows, the house next door was in
very poor condition, the driveway to the house was all but impassable, and so and so
on. What you see is not necessarily what you get.

Building your own home is usually less expensive than buying. It also offers you
the opportunity of designing your own “dream home.” This is all well and good “if”
you have expertise in this area. Many knowledgeable owners have been burnt by
unscrupulous contractors. It isn’t unusual for some builders to over estimate certain
materials only to have the excess disappear from your property overnight. As the owner,
you may want and pay for a high quality item only to have the contractor purchase a
lesser quality item and pocket the difference. In order to eliminate these and
other problems, the owner should be on site daily, checking and double checking, both
the materials and workmanship. Someone should also be there overnight to be sure
everything is secure.

Workmen are another issue. Much of what they know was learned by on-the-job
training without any formal schooling. Jamaicans, whether in business or their social
life, are habitually late. Different types of craftsmen can easily become hostile with
each other. In other words, it takes a strong person to handle any one of these
situations.

3) One of the most rewarding of the “feedback” comes from individuals or
organizations seeking places to support. There are so many worthwhile places such as schools,
hospitals, etc., it is very difficult to pick the most needy. A few vacationers
bring supplies with them to support needy schools, orphanages, etc. Some organizations
come to Jamaica with groups of 15-25 or more people to paint or repair buildings.
Some Christian groups come to evangelize on street corners or inner city communities,
as well as, perform devotions at primary and junior high schools. These devotions
can consist of praise & worship, testimonies, drama, and puppets. Prayer is a very
fundamental part of their schooling. Some schools have devotions three times a week
while others do it on a daily basis.

These “feedback” questions have given me a wealth of knowledge in many areas. I
have answered every single inquiry coming from North America, Europe and even Africa.
My sole purpose in writing these articles is to help people interested in making
Jamaica their home. If I am asked something and I don’t know the answer, I make every
effort to find the answer. So far, I have not been stumped!

In conclusion, if you are thinking of moving to my Paradise or you feel led to help
others, please send me “feedback.” I will do everything I can to fulfill your
dream.

About the author

John Casey