The Jamaican Diaspora advisory board members, at a recent conference in Kingston, made several mind-boggling comments. Their half-witted comments indicates an almost complete disconnect between themselves and the realities of our country.
According to a June 26, 2005 Sunday Gleaner report, all the advisory board members stated that crime was being overplayed by the Jamaican media. By all indications these overseas Jamaicans do not comprehend the severity of Jamaica’s crime dilemma. Despite the fact that there were more than 1400 murders last year and well over 800 so far this year, not to mention the extremely high levels of shootings, armed robberies, carjackings and other violent crimes, they have the gall to state that crime in Jamaica is being overplayed by the media. They are also seemingly oblivious of the fact that Jamaica’s print and electronic media fails for whatever reason to highlight most crimes.
Let us be frank, does the local media give the impression that four to seven Jamaicans are murdered on a daily basis? Further yet is it not an already a forgone conclusion that most crimes are either not reported or are underreported? In addition to their fatuous comments on crime, they lashed out against those who argue that Jamaica is a failed state, stating that those comments are “careless” and “nonsensical”. Yes, I accept Jamaica is not a failed state but by all appearances it is on the road to being a failed one. The Diaspora’s UK representative Paulette Simpson maladroitly backed their position by stating “It cannot be a failed state if people are coming in for your teachers, your doctors and your nurses”. Did it not occur to her that there must be some logical reason as to why Jamaica’s professional classes are migrating in droves? Haiti, a failed state, is almost devoid of Haitian professionals most of whom are now living in South Florida, New York City and Montreal.
Jamaica is already feeling the negative effects of its own brain drain. Jamaica’s harsh economic circumstances and the ongoing disintegration of law and order here are just too much to bear for many. Several other ham-fisted remarks were made that seriously calls into question the motives of this group and their ability to effectively lead overseas Jamaicans. I am also beginning question whether they are a PR group for the ruling administration. If the Jamaican Diaspora wants to make a meaningful contribution to Jamaica they can start by lobbying the ruling administration to effectively tackle corruption and mismanagement, all related to bad governance, which costs our beloved country greatly. Bad governance is the root cause of Jamaica’s problems and if it is not eliminated Jamaica will continue on the road to becoming a failed state.
The Advisory board members of the Jamaican Diaspora must be commended for their efforts to build a formidable worldwide Jamaican lobby network. However, they must open their eyes to Jamaica’s realities and use their untapped powers and potential to bring about a better Jamaica.