Thu | Aug 5, 2021

Becoming citizens of the world

Published:Wednesday | July 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM


On my recent travels to North America and Europe, I had time to reflect on who we are as Jamaicans. Having given a paper on Stuart Hall, one of Jamaica's most illustrious sons in academia in Birmingham, England, I wondered just how many of us had heard of him. Jamaica College, his alma mater, has been making bold steps to remember and carry his life's work and commitment forward in the present day.

This Emancipendence 2015 finds us looking at the crisis in Greece and drawing parallels, as well as the budget in England which has resulted in a public-sector wage freeze with demonstrations in protest. In Jamaica, we still have to emerge from our cocoons of denial about such matters as the rights of gay citizens, addressing the terrible violence on the land, and the challenges to the economy and governance which face us.

As usual, I met diaspora friends, well-wishers, and family interested in the island and wondering how they might help. In these conversations and reflections, I remembered the words of Mr Gordon, guest speaker at the Sports Awards, about many matters, including the fact that people will contribute to their school's programmes readily if the contributions can be accounted for properly.

The truth is, as Jamaicans, we have to be prepared to embrace the changing world and try to become independent and prosperous. We cannot continue to borrow money from citizens of other countries who themselves are having hard times and then waste the money and think about how we will not pay this back. As my father used to say, "we are dreaming". We cannot expect that the more than half of the Jamaicans who live overseas are going to invest their money in uncertain futures.

Hilary Robertson-


UWI, Mona