Commentary Jamaica Magazine

What about the children of Jamaica?

What about the children? The last time I went to Jamaica I went on a tour that took me into the countryside. Here I visited with a school that had just completed some major renovations due to the generosity of a sponsor from America. I was encouraged by the children and heartbroken too, they were short on school supplies but they had a few good teachers that were trying their best to teach them everything, as well as manners. This in America is a rare class indeed.

During the visit, I was told if a child was abusive to other children or used language that wasn’t proper he or she would be sent home punished by their parents and could possibly not be allowed back in school. I was glad to hear that the children that wanted to learn, disruptions of no kind were allowed. I did hear children outside calling some of the others on the tour certain deroggatory names, especially towards the women in the group. Again these children were small so they learned these remarks from older others I am sure. When I asked a tour guide about it she said if their parents were told they could possibly be in for a severe beating. Well I just wanted it to slide. I am a firm believer in discipline for the child and a spanking could be in order in my book (not everyones) but this wasn’t the time, or place.

Upon going back to Montego Bay everything was fine until we went by a bus for public transportation and a Jamaican that was probably no more than 18 years old decided to flip me the bird ,that is, giving me the middle finger salute. It must be universal as he seemed to know how to give it quite well. For what? Looking out the window at him? For being in his country? For spending my money in the shops? For visiting his country? For falling in love with Jamaica? It did hurt my feelings. I was under the misconception that everyone in Jamaica loved me. When we returned to our hotel that night I ate dinner with one of the older gentlemen that worked at the hotel, a Jamaican with whom I shared the story in a way I wish I hadn’t. He seemed genuinely hurt, couldn’t believe someone did that. Kept apoligizing to me like it was his fault.

Don’t worry I would still come back. Again and again. He couldn’t believe I was going to town that evening to catch a show at the Coral Cliff’s club. By the way the music and the dancing I saw that night was top notch and they were all great entertainers. I was treated with great respect and it was a wonderful night out. It is a shame that some peoples actions hurt and offend others.

This though is not just in Jamaica it is worldwide. I always try to be even more considerate to Jamaicans I meet in the Boston area because for the most part every Jamaican I have ever met over all the times I have visited the island has treated me with the utmost respect. Why can’t we all get along? It has nothing to do with the color of ones skin, does it? For some people, yes. Money? Oh yes this is the root of all evil.

Do people with money hang out with people without money? No. I love to hear the stories in Jamaica though. When Johnny Cash was alive he gave presents and parties for the local Jamaicans that were associated with he and his family. Keith Richards employs and gives generously to his Jamaican staff that maintain his residence. Bill Cosby, gives jobs and presents to the children of the people that work for him during the holidays at his place near Montego Bay. Sophia Loren gives money for a school so that children will have a decent place to learn with bathrooms and books and paper and desks.

Oh there are some great people with hearts that want to give to this beautiful country and as well they should. Now all we need is the politicians over in Kingston to get out more to see the people. Are they afraid? If they are then the country will never get better. A new group of politicians need to be elected. The people can sense this. They must be amongst the people to help them. People all over the island need financial help, medical assistance, educational facilities and then when the politicians and some of the wealthiest business men reach out to actually help to make the cities, towns and parrishes better, the people will be there to help them too. Word will spread that the politicians and business leaders actually care and that is the best possible solution. The children are our strongest asset and they have to survive to help make it a better place. You do not want them to hate it so bad that they all move away as soon as they are old enough. So help them to help you. It is not about sides, it is about cooperation between all people living on one island, the most beautiful….Jamaica

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