Jamaica's children of Britain's economic rape
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I must thank Frank Phipps, QC, one of Jamaica's top legal minds, for the article written by him ('We don't beg at lord's table', Gleaner, November 20) about that greatest of acts against humanity, committed by the Europeans against millions of Africans through the slave trade and slavery.
It gives me some assurance that these facts of our circumstances are not yet lost, and, hopefully, might be institutionalised for generations to come, lest we forget and find ourselves back in chains.
I write, however, to express my disagreement on his statement that Britain "... has provided good and needed assistance to Jamaica, including a judicial and legal system...", because I am of the opinion that the economic, judicial and social structure developed by them in the colonies was for their benefit, not ours, to maintain their culture, economy and lifestyle, as practised in their home country.
What they should have left with us was the means and methods to acquire knowledge, which would have been beneficial to us in plotting economic strategies for development of the resources we have.
Our lack of knowledge in the means and methods of how things work, especially at the government level, is apparent, because of the general failure of the Jamaican government in its ability to enable wealth creation among its citizens. The apprenticeship system used as a strategy to get as much useful life out of slavery as possible in 1834 would have been appropriate for our politicians after our independence in 1962. The disaster of mismanagement that started 55 years ago is almost as bad as slavery, since it is hard for the free to return to slavery.
I hope the discussion about the realities of slavery and its legacy among us today is not to be catalogued and maintained at the university library, but taken out of gestation and broadcast so all Jamaicans may know the circumstances creating their present condition, because until we recognise and understand how we got here, we will be doomed, as Mr Phipps pointed out, to a return to the days of slavery.
HUGH M. DUNBAR