Mon | Apr 24, 2017

Identity more than labels

Published:Monday | March 2, 2015 | 3:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Newly elected judge of the International Court of Justice, Patrick Robinson, is calling for the removal of the Queen as Jamaica's head of state. He opined that this process could be started by changing titles that refer to the monarchy. So now, the Throne Speech should become The Marcus Garvey Policy Statement. This, he said, would assist Jamaicans to clear their muddled identity.

Let me ask the scholarly gentleman, which Jamaicans is he referring to, and why does he think that changing the name of a speech is all of a sudden going to give someone a sense of a new identity?

For those of us at home or abroad, let me ask, have you ever had a problem identifying your fellow countryman? Have you ever mistaken him/her for Trinidadian or a St Lucian?

 

self-image

 

Of course, I am aware that the judge is not talking in the literal sense here, but that's my problem. The challenges Jamaicans are facing have nothing to do with some esoterically defined notion of who we think we are.

To the average joe who is struggling to get by from day to day, the big question usually is, why me? How come others seem to be getting ahead and I am not? How come the white man, the Indian, and the Chinese seem to be doing so well and I am struggling? Is it because I am black?

Tell me, Justice, how is it that other Commonwealth countries such as Singapore, Australia, India and many others don't seem to have the same identity crisis you claim Jamaicans have, even though these countries have retained the monarchy?

What Justice Robinson ought to be advising his fellow countrymen to do is to ask our Government why have we been stuck in this rut for so long? Ask them to explain why our economy has consistently performed so poorly even when times are good. Let them explain why we have one of the lowest GDPs in the region, and why it was that in the 1960s, when the monarchy was even more prominent than today, we were seen as the poster child of the region.

 

who is to blame?

 

Is it the fault of the monarchy that we consistently live above our means and keep increasing our debt in order to maintain the faÁade of wealth?

It is easy to find scapegoats.

You can bet your bottom dollar that should we get rid of the Queen without making fundamental changes to the way we manage our affairs, it won't be long before the search is on for another reason why things remain as before.

Until we start to accept personal responsibility for the quagmire in which we now find ourselves and resolve to work out way out of it, no amount of tinkering with labels is going to change our miserable reality.

PATRICK WALKER

Tracovic @ yahoo.com