Jamaica's poor unwelcome abroad
THE EDITOR, Sir
Once a country has lost its economic dominance, its citizens
can never expect to be respected by others on the outside. Jamaica's economic decline has caused adverse 'ripple effect' on many aspects of our lives here at home and abroad. Jamaicans were once held in high esteem and we were respected all over the Caribbean; now we are looked on with disdain.
It is unfortunate that Jamaican nationals arriving at the Port of entry
in Barbados or Trinidad may be harassed and denied entry because
immigration officials make the assumption that such person may
become a 'public charge, or a liability' on their government. It's shameful. We should not have to be subjected to humiliation, ridicule and shamed anywhere in the world and particularly, within the Caribbean.
The experience must be embarrassing. I would not like to face such
humiliation regardless of the circumstance. But then again, on second
thought, I will not be intimidated by what others think. I will never allow myself to be 'defined' by anybody's perception of me as a Jamaican. I have too many options open to me as a citizen of the Caribbean.
The most important option is; I can insist on staying and risk being
declared 'persona non grata'. And sue them for violating my right to free travel. I am free to travel to countries of the Caribbean Common Market as citizen of Jamaica. I am bold to travel and spend my money in whatever form that is convenient, whether cash or credit - as determined by the bank.
Unfortunately. there are people without such options, and if immigration officials become doubtful or suspicious there may be reasons to ask a few pertinent questions. Regardless, there is no justification for disrespect, ridicule and shame. We detest the behaviour of those who are inclined to treat Jamaicans as 'potential liabilities, free-loaders' or bugaboos.
Glen George Wilson