Commentary Jamaica Magazine

The Politicking Of The Jamaican Diaspora!

I am concerned that this body called the Jamaican Diaspora firstly, is becoming too political. If anything it should be an unbiased entity, but it is making a major mistake by not reaching out to all political parties (PNP, JLP, NDM and the JAM)with simultaneous intent, purpose, timing and continuity. Knowing the immature partisan politics that is embedded in the consciousness of many Jamaicans who, in my humble opinion, were never truly emancipated, and thus see the political parties as the modern day version of the plantation massa who they turn to for employment and things that they should be providing for themselves, you can be certain that if a party feels that this organization did not reach out to it sufficiently during its formative sessions, then when they attain the leadership they will not be inspired to maintain close relationships with it. The hostile unbipartisan rhetoric and actions which has been the fingerprints of every government in recent times should have been a driving force for the diaspora to remain open and welcome to all movements, but in keeping with every sector of this country, from the press to the man in the hills and even in the clergy some of whose prophetic voices have been silenced after they have taken on political appointments and forgotten that the prophets are supposed to point the nation to prosperity and protect God’s children and the church by the power of the Word of the Lord and confront injustices in government, this movement which should have struck a clear blow for political independence and non-alignment, bipartisanship and an abhorrence of political violence, instead reached for the branch of genetic massa divisiveness. Are they not aware that the political line of demarcation is a major factor fuelling the murder rate which is among the highest in the world? Are they not aware that the political line of demarcation has partitioned and sectionalized areas of the country into party areas where non-party members cannot even walk? Who are these professors and lawyers and doctors and businessmen who have put on the spectacles of alignment and now display a hunger and thirst for the massa? The lust and love for the massa was never broken and destroyed but the country developed an affinity for him and the relationship survived the generations leaving only those who heeded Marley’s famous exorcismic words (emancipate yourself from mental slavery), hence this Diaspora’s desire to have a political father plantation massa. To be frank, this organization does not even need the government at all to accomplish any thing but until they are delivered from this demonic European spirit they will continue to speak in the tongues of the massa (wi caaan liv widout yu sah)instead of the tongues of a free man (we respect and acknowledge your office but we think that remaining independent of politics will give greater credibility and a higher ethical posture to our existence). Indeed a vote for party alignment is a vote for garrison politics, mass extortion, political violence and yes, bangarang too!

Judging from past history the Diaspora group should be really distancing itself from governmental influence and interference. Why is this so? Well if any public company commits the “mistakes” in judgment and decision making and policy that the government has committed over the past 15 years, they would be under criminal prosecution and facing bankruptcy not riding through Kingston in a motorcade behind policemen standing on their motorbikes as though they were some returning saviours (many of whom are actually United States, Canadian and British citizens-it is stark hypocrisy to claim to be citizens of two countries. What happens if they entered into an armed conflict against each other?).

We all know that successive Jamaican governments from the 70s onward have been proven to be brutal, violent and corrupt, thriving on dividing the people with the aid of the massa spirit as one government minister recently said, “politics in Jamaica is about who gets what, when and where”, and the same spirit of arrogance and disrespect for the law will be transfered onto the so-called diaspora if they believe in the doctrine of holding hands. Just look at the case of Dyoll Insurance company (a case which clearly shows how dangerous it is to invest in the Jamaican stock market-on which I will do an expose) . Here is a public company which encountered cash liquidity problems after Ivan because it seems that they violated a few of the basic tenets of the insurance business- preventing overexposure and insufficient risk reduction through reinsurance, and now they may face all kinds of investigations as unpleasant repercussions like stock delisting and possible criminal prosecution are discussed. I agree that politicians are not perfect and will hence make mistakes but a wise man learns from his mistakes while a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others. This government has shown no desire to learn from their mistakes or the mistakes of their ancestors. The stupidity and mass hypocrisy I read in the papers and hear on the news is practically overwhelming- ranting and raving on the radio against the USA the largest aid donor to Jamaica, about the war in Iraq yet saying nothing when the Jamaican government breaks the laws or saying nothing about the genocide and mass rapes of Africans in the Sudan which has been going on for over ten years (supported and financed by the Chinese who value oil over the lives of our African brothers), who more closely resemble Jamaicans than the Iraqis do, millions of dollars keep disappearing, demonstrating against a fair ruling from the World Trade Organization after having becoming a signature to the organization and thus being bound to abide by its rulings, having governmental organizations to be in charge of investigating themselves, reportedly selling Air Jamaica to the Butch Stewart group knowing that it was in category two status and not telling them before, causing them to lose millions(why this is not fraud if true, I do not know),keeping the police force under-equipped and undertrained so that they cannot even take fingerprints in a timely manner, paying millions of dollars to rent equipment from genetically-linked political businessmen when it would be cheaper to purchase the same equipment, the mayor of Kingston in Georgia begging for loans (this one I could not believe until I remembered that a part of the massa consciousness is to avoid maturing and becoming a responsible adult and learn the lessons of sacrifice and delayed self-gratification, by borrowing resources from others to support a false standard of living) as if citizens of the country you regularly curse are obliged to support your enslaved mentality, (pleez nuh beg yuh som moni, the gowament naw gi wi nun) fire trucks running on tires whch are almost worn out and when Portia Simpson -(the next honorable Prime Minister of Jamaica- someone please hire her a public speaking coach though) simply truthfully answers questions posed by the opposition, Maxine Henry-Wilson and other PNP members make threatening gestures and point their fingers in her face and the Prime Minister has to prevent K D Knight from literally jumping her- in the Parliament! Is this not the same KD Knight I see in the picture with the Diaspora Board? I wonder if any of them had the guts to ask him to publicly apologize to the nation, to women and children and to Portia. I would certainly have challenged him on that and will challenge him whenever I see him at any event here. This is one nonpartisan Jamaican who is not afraid to ask frank questions because I am not genetically linked to the massa. To digress- the rounding up of innocent citizens and imprisoning them behind barbed wire fences does smell like Nazi Germany. And to hear attorney Ronnie Thwaites on radio supporting this action was shocking- this could not have happenned in England or Canada or the USA or any true democracy without some official facing imprisonment and if some attorney who is not afraid for his life takes up this case and carry it thorugh to the Privy Council, this lawless government would certainly lose!

Shame on you Diaspora Board who should be well familiar with ethical standards of conduct since you have lived abroad for years in countries where politicians get impeached for lying and and imprisonned for deceiving federal officials and forced to resign for conflicts of interest issues, especially since some of you are lawyers, posing with a man who should have been prosecuted for assault, because you were blinded by the massa’s spirit (your ego). Is this the kind of spirit you want to have transferred onto you? Shame on you University of Pennslyvania professor who have tarnished the standards of conduct into which you have been baptised at the Ivy League. Shame,shame, shame, the blood at Green Bay and Tivoli and of Michael Gayle and Janice Allen now drips in widening puddles in front of you as with eyes shut the massa spirit speaks through you again as you mumble “mi nuh se nutin sah”.

There are already several effective Jamaican associated groups all over the world. Therefore, there is no need for any Diaspora which will just increase bureaucracy and entice the ego boffers and the Arians and Leos to stick their necks out. What they really should have done was to identify all the existing Jamaican organizations around the world and encourage all overseas Jamaicans to approach with humility and join the closest one.

What is really needed is for the major groups of overseas citizens that already exist to perhaps focus on different issues. We urgently, for instance, need one to raise funds to fix the fire engines because this beleaguered government with misplaced priorities can borrow millions to fund a CCJ court, when there is an effective functioning Privy Council, when its own citizens are dying in fires and its own lands are going up in flames and smoke, because the fire trucks do not work. Some of the fire trucks even need new tires. Is this leadership or the massa’s ship?

Frankly, we need one to raise funds to repay Jamaica’s debt which by mathematical projections will never be repaid at current schedules and to prevent the country from spiralling down into a cesspool of debt default and revolution or to unashamedly becoming a welfare state begging others to forgive our debts(pleeze sah mi caan pay bak yu moni). To be frank if a overseas group made this as its goal, impossible as it may seem, it would bring needed focus to the bankrupt state of the nation. I really would like to think that there are enough Jamaican linked overseas corporations with enough financial resources to repay the national debt (Chris Blackwell made US$300 million from the sale of Island Records to then Polygram Records-did he pay any Jamaican taxes on this – do we need an investigation) and he has several hotels in the US, Golden Krust Caribbean should be over US100 million a year in revenues and Hosang’s company in upstate New York is practically “printing” profits) with a pledge from the government that they would all resign if this was accomplished, but this would perhaps be too lofty a goal.

We need one to target every company that exports goods to Jamaica to query how secure are their goods from illegal contraband. The barrell shipping companies for example should provide a protocol they use to ensure that there are no guns or ammunition in the barrels they ship.

We need one group to focus on how to effectively combat globalization- by researching the prospects for vertical market integration and retail market domination, because globalization and its effects are the greatest challenges that small Caribbean countries face today, not Privy Council rulings.

We really need one to chronicle and analyze the major mistakes the government has made over the past twenty years and formulate case studies to suggest solutions that were missed. These would make tremendous case studies for the Mona Business School and would be very useful for future leaders. By now we should be sick of the glaring, unsophisticated repeated errors successive generations of our “brilliant” politicians do not seem to be tire of making. There are too many to list but the alliance with the mining conglomerates alcoa and alcan without negotiating for stock options in the two companies, shows basic stupidity, ignorance of true wealth creation and proof that the massa consciousness, giving away of a country’s resources for cash money without also receiving partial ownership in the overseas headquarter operations, is alive and well.

The diaspora should be aware too that they do not speak for all overseas Jamaicans but only for themselves and this should be stated as a disclaimer in their constitution. To claim to speak for groups of people without their input is frankly, misrepresentation and fraud and should invite a lawsuit here. They might as well go ahead and call themself the correct name, the overseas PNP er the overseas massas. And to “elect board members” in the manner done must be illegal on some statute in the constitution, or should be illegal on the basis that there was no rule of the organization stating how such officers should be elected. Only the persons actively participating are this so-called diaspora. I suspect that a major force behind it in addition to tribaslistic politiking, is ego buffing and picture posturing. You know if all the members that flew down to Jamaica for the diaspora conference, had cancelled the meeting and donated their air fare to an independent group to buy tires for the fire trucks such an action would have saved lives and misery. For the 300 members who flew down paying an average of $300 minimum would have contributed US$90,000 which should would have been more than enough to fix all the fire trucks!

The Jamaican Diaspora must now do the right thing and disband. If you visit their web site you can plainly see that they are having severe problems moving forward and you can read about accusations of stealing ideas and the name calling is going back and forth. (The board members have, as far as I know, never posted anything on the site- they are too busy.) This is what I mean by ego boffing and self-posturing. At the next meeting they should highlight all the current vibrant overseas organizations and all attendees should be encouraged to join at least one and donate the equivalent of the cost of flying down to Jamaica every year. The Diaspora should then be disbanded. Segmentation and specialization has greater power than accumulation and conglomeration and this is the principle which should be encouraged.

Then when all the current organizations are sufficiently staffed and rejuvenated by these new members any goal can be attained. The amount of grant money that is available is staggering. But grant writing is a specialized area and need skilled practioneers. Diaspora you should be submitting grant proposals to the Rockefeller or the Ford foundation or one of the hundreds of active foundations who are literally begging for eligible organizations to send in their proposals(just take a visit to the grant office on fifth avenue in lower Manhattan if you need to be convinced), on behalf of JANC (Jamaica Association of North California) or some other organization. Michael Dingwall at [email protected] is perhaps one of the most brilliant writers in Jamaica- certainly approaching the skills of John Maxwell. Who wants to pay for him to take a grant writing course from NYU on line so he could engage Chris Blackwell to fund the delapidated basic schools in Mountain View or Trench Town or Rockport with the windfall from the sale of Island Records- the Diaspora’s air fare comtribution can do it. As a people Jamaicans talk and march too much and do too little . If there is a worthy project like buying parts for the fire trucks I will put up the first US$500 but not to give to any government agency for it to disappear.

It is not by chance that most inventions come from individuals or very small groups. Small groups and individuals think better than large groups because large groups tend to develop group-think and rather than developing solutions they eventually become bogged down with bureaucracy and egotistical individual desires and they will do things, often subconsciously, to justify their existence. This is partly why the Jamaican Parliament will vote themself a pay raise when the country is bankrupt, why they and other large governmental bodies break their own laws and violate their own constitutions (when there is no statute to hold them accountable or bold attorney general who will prosecute them; attorney general Nicholson is not bold enough even though there is more than sufficient evidence, to call a press conference and announce the impending prosecution of the Finance Ministry who has clearly broken the law) and one reason why the Caribbean governments are sprinting ahead to set up the CCJ. The Caribbean governments hate the Privy Council because they give fair judgments and thus will give citizens victory in cases they would never have won under slavery and which they will hardly win in the Caribbean and for the local churches who are hiding behind their four walls and do not see this and the challenges it poses for religious freedom just show how much they are compromised and have taken dirty politics and place it before the word of God. Oh compromised prophets open your eyes and mouths and trumphet the words of freedom.

Tony Brown (the noted african-american who had a tv show) came up with a brilliant idea years ago. He found out that some african-american organizations (including the NAACP) were spending hundreds of millions of dollars every year on conferences and meetings and forums in “white” owned hotels. He proposed that they cancel all conferences for one year and use that money to fund scholarships or start businesses. Great idea was it not? They never accepted it, but instead of focussing on why the idea was workable, they focussed on why it was unworkable and rejected it. Such large groups when they become entrenched will do all to justify their existence and their activities. I guarantee you that already the egos are running amok among the diaspora. Most of the postings on the JDF’s bulletin board are from persons I call talkers and marchers- who are in love with their ideas and intellectual capacity- just try to get them to do something physical. Just reading the report on the Diapora conference in Jamaica posted on the Canadian St. Georges College Old Boys Association’s web site,proves this as one reads Neil Dalhouse writing about his egomaniac experience- “we felt like royalty”. There is no sense of humility, no feeling of graciousness or no meekness of spirit is evident- just a pompous celebration of the modern day all-conquering massas returning to the plantation. He apparently has forgotten his Jamaican history as he should (he I think, is now a Canadian citizen)- slavery was abolished, at least on paper, a long time ago.

Humans are basically selfish -self preservation and self elevation are undeniable forces which become more pronounced in large groups especially as I said, among the Arians and Leos. Arians make the best leaders but the worst followers. If they are not in charge they are very unhappy and the Leos like President Clinton are all into themselves and will risk a war (as he did when he had missiles fired into the Sudan) to make themself look good or to divert attention away from bad news about themself. The next step is for someone to compile and post a list of all the active organizations in the US, Canada and England and Jamaica and the Diaspora be effectively disbanded. I know this may be a challenge for some and a blow to others but this talk and march spirit must be challenged and turned into action.

I challenge the authenticity of this compromised board and now state that the real purposes are to strengthen the PNP party and set the stage for the introduction of overseas voting. All other reasons are a smoke screen to hide the agendas now come to the light. We will be watching. If we must move forward we must all learn the lesson of sacrifice and giving and humility and graciousness, not biased politicking and self polishing and the exportation of Jamaican partianship to the USA and England.

About the author

John Anthony