Victim of profiling in Nevis

Published: Wednesday | December 4, 2013 Comments 0


I was quite incensed by the Letter of the Day ('No welcome mat for Jamaicans with attitude') dated December 3, 2013, especially when I saw its origin.

Admittedly, there are quite a number of Jamaicans who sully the reputation of Jamaicans worldwide. However, I must ask, as an attorney-at-law who lived and worked in Nevis, charged with protecting the interests of Nevisian people, whether the discrimination I experienced and witnessed could be justified.

Let me recount some of these experiences:

1. I was told (by a public official) in a meeting with public servants after pointing out a constitutional provision regarding the application to build a mosque that Nevis is a Christian country and this could only take place in countries like mine.

2. After receiving a considerable promotion/appointment after a few months, I was subjected to ostracising and unthinkable venom, with reference to my nationality.

3. I was told by my senior that he could not be made to be seen taking action against certain staff members, even though he admitted their unprofessional behaviour, since they are Nevisian and I am Jamaican. Staff members were, therefore, rude with impunity. I thereafter tendered my resignation.

4. There was a public meeting after a spate of robberies. A political representative told the gathering (without being apprised of the facts) that Nevis should be protected from the Guyanese. Later, the culprit turned out to be a Nevisian national.

5. I had repeated encounters where it was suggested that Jamaica was the blight of the Caribbean, and experienced the very same hubris of which the writer accused us. In fact, I largely enjoyed my experience in Barbados and was hoping to replicate that in another island. Unfortunately, it turned out to be quite unbearable.

I could very well fill the pages of a book with my unpleasant experiences in that country. The beauty of Nevis belies the vicious undercurrent of many Nevisians towards Jamaicans, expats and Guyanese.

I still treasure dear friendships with a few Nevisian nationals. But I believed that this letter was necessary in underscoring that prejudice is not limited to Jamaicans of ill-repute. It is deep-seated and real, and oftentimes, unwarranted.

Where was my welcome mat? It was pulled forcibly from beneath my feet.



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