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Letter of the Day | Reclaiming Ja

Published:Thursday | July 18, 2019 | 12:00 AM


A trip to Negril to present at a conference last week provided me with the astonishing revelation that I had not been to Negril for more than 20 years. On my journey, I stepped back in time as I went through Hopewell and then turned at Flint River, just before Tryall, to my mother’s place of birth, Pondside. I had not been through Great Valley and had not seen the school named after Merlene Ottey, who is from the same district as my mother. I passed through Lucea and remembered the comments made by Custos Stair and Justice Panton about the continued underdevelopment of the parish of Hanover. Some pretend that the hotel and other developments are in Montego Bay or Negril.

I wondered who was benefiting from the developments and how the mainly young staffers of the hotels fared in this largely multinational-owned world. Of course, I had seen the youngsters in the security forces in whose debt we are. They looked so young and were charged with guarding us against the also young, marauding criminals who rape, steal and murder wantonly.

In my reflection after the conference, I read in The Gleaner that many Jamaicans were on lockdown in America under the sword of Damocles, fearing deportation as a result of their undocumented status.

The matter of Jamaicans who migrate is an ongoing matter, whether they are nurses or teachers, IT specialists or crane drivers. Of course, the recent news of robberies and kidnappings attempted during exercise runs, and at the supermarket, also help to develop an environment of fear. Some of those people will also migrate. I am sure that many Jamaicans, according to a recent Letter of the Day in The Gleaner, cannot afford a ‘staycation’. In fact, the writer pointed out that it would be more affordable to take a trip and stay in a reasonable hotel and shop in Florida.


Fifty-seven years of Independence has taken us to the brink of a disaster and back many times, and has mired us in a stifling situation of partisan politics. It will take Windrush and the ever-present sword of Damocles to provide the realisation that the people of colour who make up Jamaica will have to reclaim their ancestral home and fix it, for they are not welcome in the metropoles to which they hanker to belong.

Those who live the in the fiaspora have to claim their rightful places there, as well as continue to build the ancestral home. I know that Jamaica cannot be like Singapore, but I wish that we had developed a disciplined and prosperous country so that our citizens would be able to stay home, safe and sound, and make a good living.

Hilary Robertson- Hickling