Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Exploited Jamaicans

Published:Friday | November 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Talk-show hosts, public commentators, prognosticators, etc., often compare, disparagingly, Jamaica's human development index and that of Barbados in order to highlight how seemingly unsophisticated (at best), or uncivilised (at worst), we Jamaicans are. But the historical huge disparity in values and attitude is not accidental. History records that the British plantation owners (the plantocracy) actually settled/lived in Barbados, unlike Jamaica, where there was a preponderance of absentee landowners.

The Barbadian plantocracy therefore had an inherent interest in keeping their society humane and orderly, simply because they lived there. In other words, self-preservation. Jamaica was not so 'fortunate'. The planters' only interest in Jamaica was money-making, and this was done through exploitation of the environment and especially Jamaicans.

So the history of Jamaica and Jamaicans from 1494 until now can be summed up in one word - exploitation. And today, in 2010, the saga continues with even greater fiendish intensity.

No such luck

In any civilised society, people who have been forced, at gunpoint, to live in war zones and suffer abuses would at the cessation of the conflict rightfully expect compensation for the trampling of their human rights, but in Jamaica the poor and dispossessed who live in garrisons have no such luck. Because immediately after the cessation of war (in western Kingston), the Jamaica Public Service and, to a lesser extent, the National Water Commission, have rushed in close on the heels of the military and police to demand their pound of flesh - payment for outstanding utility bills.

I believe the Government of Jamaica is liable to pay all outstanding bills as part payment/ down payment on the com-pensation cost due the victims of our undeclared civil war.

I am, etc.,