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Magnanimous Jamaican spirit

Published:Wednesday | February 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Despite all its problems, Jamaica is still one of the best places on earth. The recent earthquake crisis in Haiti and the almost immediate response of Jamaican soldiers, doctors and aid workers is testimony to the magnanimous spirit which is truly Jamaican. Everyone has been willing to assist in the aid effort of search, rescue and rebuild. The image of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition united in the face of adversity was rather touching. There was no issue of partisan rancour or debate. Both political parties rose to the task at hand, oblivious to political differences.

Then there was the question of how to treat Haitian migrants. While there has been some legitimate concern, the consensus seems to be that we must at least help our Haitian neighbours in their time of need. Reports out of the USA, a country with far greater resources than Jamaica and a much larger land mass, is that it will repatriate all Haitians found at sea.

Bahamas turning back

The Bahamas, south of Haiti, has been turning back numerous Haitians found on their way to their 700 islands. Contrast that with Jamaica and the response has been different. The Jamaican government has kindly consented to have Haitians on our soil, temporarily, until sufficient measures are put in place in restoring their capital. How reminiscent is this of the Jamaica we all know where you can always get a little salt from your neighbour or stop at a stranger's house and request a glass of water.

Surely, Jamaica is aware of its limitations and while we call upon our CARICOM partners and the rest of the world to continue to help rebuilding Haiti, as a country we have a lot to be proud of. We have to be proud of the response of our government and leaders, which shows that Jamaica has the potential to not only be a regional leader but an example for the rest of the world to follow.

I amn, etc.,

Harold Malcolm