And never the twain shall meet
The Jamaican society has as its motto, 'Out of Many, One People'. Any examination of this in the current context brings into question its accuracy and authenticity. We have always been a divided people. Uptown, downtown, around town, brown, passing white, black, rich and accepted, rich and not accepted, 21 families, chattering class, articulate minority, inarticulate majority, town and country, green and orange. We have simply become 'Outa-meni'. Though we overlap, we splinter.
These divisions are sadly leading persons like me to question who benefits from this division. It is hard to accept that these divisions are natural. There are those who have embraced the divisiveness. Those who must control life and property, as if they have a right, and those who take comfort from being recognised in the Bible and are told frequently in the churches that their reward is up yonder.
This is leading to an explosion. The black people are to accept their lot in life, as others have the ability to influence government policy for their private and exclusive gain. They conveniently forget that to get to their preferred community, they must pass by the dwellings of the less fortunate. There is no uptown residential enclave that is not surrounded, yet they love to dictate the rules that offer them an expected advantage.
The assets of the Government, or as it really is, the assets of the people are to be used for the privileged few. Blow up a coral reef so the boat can be docked easily in proximity to any preferred spot. Give me dominion while the taxpayer maintains it. Clear garbage in Norbrook, but not in Callaloo Mews. Fix Barbican Road multiple times while Waltham Park Road is forgotten. Take pride in stating, "I have not been below Half-Way Tree in years."
Compare these statements to the plight of education as a national prerogative for the last 52 years. We can find money to pamper some while the vast majority are warehoused in school buildings without being taught, but it does not matter to some as their children are proudly sent away to boarding school.
I am only spending my money, they say. It is more convenient as I have a home in the USA. Look at the Thursday and Friday evening flights to Miami and the Sunday and Monday return flights. They do not live here. You retire from a position of prominence in Jamaica and immediately relocate. Judges, politicians and businesspersons do it with some regularity. Where does nationalism factor into this? Can we not use your skills to help grow and develop the society for us all?
The proceedings at the Jamaica Conference Centre referred to as the Tivoli commission of enquiry is a revelation. We have persons who have lived decades, in one case, 36 years, in an environment where they have been taught to 'see and blind, hear and deaf, no inform'. They were the participants, in some cases inadvertently, in an incursion. A deadly incursion.
The attorneys are seeking correctly to be zealous advocates for their clients against people who, for all intents, are left on their own. These same persons are expected to suddenly disregard the ethos of their lives; give names, places, dates and details because some attorney requests it. Question: Why did you not send your children to school on May 21, 2010? Reply: 'I did not sen har.' Why that day in particular as follow-up? Then the attorneys are surprised that the subsequent response was not because the 'don' was under siege. We lead two different lives - one in increasingly violent desperation.
NOT ABOUT DIVISION
I am sure some readers will accuse me of fostering class division. It is not that I wish to foster it; it is a recognition of the pervasive nature of division in Jamaica. If you do not believe, watch the Tivoli drama being played out on television. Where were the demonstrations when the Tivoli matter was being played out? 'Us versus Dem'.
The press, as a body is, at last, openly shedding any vestige of political neutrality and the related objectivity that is to be expected. This new model of active, on-air media personalities being participants in street-level anti-government demonstrations is their singular and collective right. Just pardon me from now on when I identify these practitioners by their choice of affiliation and award them the same level of low credibility. Sooner, rather than later, the people will begin to discount what is heard in the media and label it what is most appropriate - propaganda for the party of choice.
Welcome to the JLP and PNP radio and television stations. Advertisers, be vigilant. This is not new; some years ago, Delano Seiveright, then G2K president, led a campaign for on-air personalities' party sympathies to be identified. He could have called it affiliation. The campaign did not catch on then, but he may find more fertile ground now, and those who are on air and choose to be unattached will represent the minority - muzzled.