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Letter of the Day | Talent in the diaspora

Published:Tuesday | June 18, 2019 | 12:00 AM


This is an opportune time to raise the question of how we acknowledge Jamaica’s talent at home and in the diaspora. Many of the related issues and my twin interests in migration and diaspora studies and human resource management are linked. So the occurrence of the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at the same time as the Women’s World Cup in France provides a great opportunity.

Not one of the players, the benefactors or the coach lives in Jamaica. One of the players had lost several family members to the violence and bloodletting that is beleaguering and crippling the country’s hopes and aspirations. So the Reggae Girlz is an almost totally diasporic entity. There are the often-discussed questions: who is a Jamaican? What are the issues that surround citizenship? What about dual citizenship? All these questions need answers.

There are many waggonists who have so much to say about the women football team and its performance, and perhaps even some who will claim to be the ones who made France happen, but in our heart of hearts we know that is not true. So we must recognise that the Jamaica Football Federation and other stakeholders cannot continue to function in the future as they have done in the past. Were it not for opportunities overseas, the team would not exist. There are so many examples of this that readers can identify, that it is sad.

We continue to lose some of our most talented players to overseas universities and social and economic opportunities. We have not yet arrived at a place where we welcome the duality of dual citizenship.


Some folks overseas believe that those at home are beggy-beggy, mendicants, and want to exploit their hard-earned resources. Many at home have no idea about the trials and tribulations involved in being a migrant; and many of us at home live in denial about the trials and tribulations about living in Jamaica. For many, anywhere you turn makka juk yuh.

We continue to haemorrhage talent and frustrate the efforts of our people. Instead of raising the bar and doing better and better, we seem to be stuck.

The truth is, we have to solve our problems of underdevelopment, corruption, cronyism and violence so that we can develop a country where we can expand the talent of our people and they can benefit from their efforts.

The country is poor, but some of the people are rich. We have one of the largest gaps between the rich and the poor in the world. Income inequality is killing us.

Wake the town, and the people, to the fact that talent is not enough. Organisation, resources and competence allow us to compete successfully at the highest levels.

That is what legends are made of, not our propensity for a bag of mouth.