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Andrew Isaacs | Jamaica at large: A pimper’s paradise

Published:Saturday | December 21, 2019 | 12:00 AMAndrew Isaacs/Guest Columnist

Rumbling through surrounding trees and across the rivers of bloody Babylon, the vibrant melody of Bob Marley’s Pimper’s Paradise emerges as a revolutionary guard, or knight in true honour, against a pattern and practice of cultural, social, and national degradation.

The recent act of shoplifting by a member of the Jamaican Under-19 team that participated at the 2019 CASA Youth Classic is a glaring symbol of a much larger national crisis.

Putting this into perspective, this group of youngsters is a microcosm of Jamaican life.


1. Lack of supervision

Staying out late (up until at least 4 a.m. on the day of a final) without any adult supervision, the players acted without any of the structure or decorum fitting of a touring team.

2. Acts of desperation

Begging was rampant among the players, and no amount of money that was provided could satisfy their insatiable want.

3. Fighting to share funds

An embarrassing scene unfolded within a plaza of untamed, youthful vigour as each player made a boisterous claim for his portion of collected money, a scene that looked like any chaotic exchange at a typical Jamaican open market.

4. Access to adequate spending money

Appearing to be underfunded, team behaviour lacked poise where many players sought to ‘hustle’ on their own.

5. Dereliction of duty

Suffocating and forbearing good governance, Jamaica, JFF, Inter-secondary School Sports Association, and the youth-development arm for sports have neglected their social responsibility to adequately finance the very best players who go on a tour. These young footballers are among the best, demonstrating sublime talent and skill that is worthy of far greater appreciation, leadership, planning, and treatment.


The foregoing points are pervasive at almost every level of Jamaican society. The lack of direction, focus, appreciation, support, and funding has produced a culture of fighting, indiscipline, and disregard for law and a predatory psyche.

What has occurred is nothing more than Jamaica on tour. This is beyond the youngsters! It is a failure of the Jamaican polity, a failure of authority, a failure of society.

There is nothing here that is generally against the normalised pattern of social animus, just another example of the 1957 Kendal train crash, where “[t]he cause of the accident was determined to be the closure of an angled wheel (brake) cock, with survivors suggesting that the pickpockets had tampered with the brakes while riding on the carriage platforms. Confidence in the rail service was shaken, and much looting and robbing of the dead and injured occurred after the crash.”

In today’s Jamaica, that final quoted sentence can easily be adopted and restated: Confidence in national leadership and accountability is shaken, and much looting, robbing, and killing leaves a society closely resembling trash.

“It’s a Pimper’s paradise. That’s all she was!”

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