Thu | Jun 8, 2023

Are we citizens, or subjects?

Published:Friday | July 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM


I consider myself to be a patriotic Jamaican citizen, and I have enormous respect for our institutions and the people that represent us, both here and abroad.

I respect our head of state, the prime minister, and the government officials that we have selected to manage our affairs, but I do not think that many of them respect us, the ordinary people.

It is said that punctuality is the politeness of princes, and yet I have never attended a public function where the guest of honour, particularly if he/she is a politician, has come on time. These bigwigs seem unaware of clocks, even though they often have police escorts and bodyguards. They arrive late, stroll in casually, and do not have the manners to apologise for their tardiness.


The masters of ceremonies have the nerve to call upon us to stand like pupils in high school to acknowledge their presence, and our political masters seem to expect this obeisance. They then make their cliche-ridden speeches and leave as quickly as possible for somewhere more important. Does this tell us something?

Is it not time that your news reporters begin to see such behaviour as insensitive and impolite, and report it in their stories? I am old enough to recall that the colonial masters were careful to demonstrate the common courtesies of social interaction, and took care not to show such contempt, even if they secretly held us Jamaicans in slight regard.

Are we citizens now, and their employers, or are we still subjects?