Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Rhodes Scholarship is not reparation

Published:Saturday | June 27, 2020 | 12:17 AM


Upon closer examination, I don’t agree that the Rhodes Scholarship should be viewed as a form of reparation.

Respectfully, this notion is a convenient cop-out. Using the logic that a former racist and slave owner’s money should be used to fund, in the event that a black Jamaican is chosen in any given year to receive the Rhodes Scholarship, is highly flawed.

Using or adopting that same kind of reasoning would mean that it would not be morally and/or ethically wrong if a local community don who earns his money through extortion and trafficking in illegal drugs were to pay all the expenses for a Jamaican student, chosen by a selection committee or by himself, seeking to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree or MBA at The University of the West Indies.

Likewise, what if, say, former Cash Plus boss Carlos Hill decided to offer an annual scholarship to one bright but financially needy Jamaican student to pursue a bachelor’s degree of his/her choosing at Harvard University, even with the certain knowledge of the recipient and a selection committee that the monies being used to fund that particular scholarship were gained from Mr Hill’s fleecing thousands of Jamaicans out of billions of dollars?

As a mark of protest, Jamaica should resign from the Rhodes Scholarship, and, after doing so, perhaps a similar annual scholarship could be established and funded, equally, by three or four of Jamaica’s wealthiest businessmen.