Why I left Jamaica
Published: Friday | October 16, 2009
A few days ago the mailwoman delivered to my home in South Florida a card and letter from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service that said 'Welcome to the United States of America'. I was immediately plunged into a state of deep reflection.
I reflected on reports that the most beautiful island in the Caribbean has far more of its people living outside of it than the entire population of Trinidad and Tobago. I also reflected on the fact that it was the enterprise and courage of Jamaicans that contributed to the building of the Panama Canal, and that if it were not for the inspiration and efforts of 'runaway' Jamaicans like Arthur Wint, Don Taylor and Chris Blackwell, where would Usain Bolt and Bob Marley be today? By the way, big ups to Michael Lee Chin and Chris Smith. Do you remember Marcus Garvey?
Globalisation describes an ongoing process by which regional economies, societies and cultures have become integrated through a globe-spanning network of communication and exchange. It is fair to say that the entire world population is bewildered at the accomplishments of the 'Biggest little country in the world'. Yes, that's who we are, or as my friend Dr Leahcim Semaj says, "A world super-power". Jamaicans have been practising globalisation for decades.
The reasons for Jamaicans leaving their homeland are many and varied. I was forced to venture outward after feeling the rejection of a rapacious financial system that seized control of my home and then my business place, as well as the ingratitude of many, after a quarter of a century of contribution to local entertainment industry development.
I still struggle to understand the concept of brain drain in the Jamaican context. I do know what brain freeze is, however. I would liken it to a 'deadstock' computer that keeps freezing when you need to get work done. That sounds very similar to the mindset of many Jamaican political and business leaders to me. They are stuck in the dark ages, while spouting off about globalisation, and still remaining undecided on whether Jamaican political and government representation should include persons who live outside the island. Jamaica is bigger than the island in the Caribbean Sea.
I am, etc.,