Devon Dick | Most Jamaicans want Jamaica to be a British Colony
Almost twice as many Jamaicans believe Jamaica made a mistake to break from the British Empire in 1962, as against those who don't. According to the Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll, 49 per cent of Jamaicans believe the country would be better off if it had remained a colony of Britain. Only 27 per cent of Jamaicans disagreed.
This disappointing discovery is perhaps not surprising because of our inherent belief that things foreign are better than things indigenous. So, after 55 years, we still have as our head of state Queen Elizabeth, an Englishwoman, and it would be anathema for us to have a Jamaican Queen because we do not believe a local should be seen as royalty. In addition, the Privy Council is still our final court of appeal in most matters, with the thinking that the Privy Council offers better and purer justice. Furthermore, the old and young still toast the Queen of England at meetings and our courts start with 'God Save the Queen'. In overt ways we elevate the British Empire over Jamaica.
Additionally, the history taught in our educational system is too often biased towards the British Empire. Surprisingly, biased books of the 1970s are still used and the powers that be are not budging. Recently, a letter writer to The Gleaner pointed out that the required poetry reading for youngsters has a compilation with an overwhelming majority of foreign poems.
There is no denying that even the enslaved had a romanticised and benevolent view of the British monarch. Even Paul Bogle and the Maroons had a high regard for the British Crown which was not deserved. They were brainwashed by British Babylon.
Some members of the Children of Israel, when faced with prolonged hardships in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, yearned for the onions of Egyptian slavery. They would rather have the crumbs from the table of slavery than the hope of milk and honey in Paradise.
Earl Moxam of TVJ should be commended for his series on Independence Reflections because for the first time many Jamaicans were watching the events leading up to Independence Day. So we saw the jubilant thousands lining the streets to greet Princess Margaret. We understand the mindset of 1962.
But what is the mindset now? On Augus' mawnin, I turned on to TVJ expecting information about our national heroes and their role in full freedom, but for most of the afternoon TVJ aired a series titled Ring Games. In this miniseries, the dark-skinned security guard did not get to marry the love of his life the domestic helper - but the Big Man in the Big House, that is, the Brown Man, did. The claim is that, to him, she was an 'old fire stick'. That is not the message we should be sending on Emancipation Day, even though the acting was good.
What else is fuelling this backward desire to be more dependent on Britain? Part of the reason is the frightening high murder rate. The fact is black-on-black violence is worse than when white Britain ruled Jamaica with an iron fist.
I've heard a few business leaders say crime is not a disincentive to investment. However, there are American multimillionaires who see it differently. There are also Jamaicans who will not return to Jamaica even for a vacation for fear of being injured or killed. Now that the United States has said that Jamaica is a dangerous place for females to visit, the tune of our business leaders might change. Since some vendors are blaming the poor independence sales partly on crime, perhaps the authorities will realise that 'Jamaica a problem'.
Over the years, adults have failed Jamaica, hence the desire to be a colony of Great Britain again.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.