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“God Save The Queen” : Jamaica and The Monarchy


“God save our gracious Queen, Long live our noble Queen,

God save the Queen: Send her victorious, Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us: God save the Queen.” – Verse One of “God Save The Queen” – Jamaica’s Royal Anthem.

Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Supreme Defender of the Faith and Governor of the Church of England, Head of the Commonwealth and Queen of Jamaica.

That is the full title of the Head of State of Jamaica, Elizabeth of the House of Windsor. As I sat and wrote out the entire title, I couldn’t help but smirk. It appeared to me so pompous and convoluted, so far removed from Jamaica’s culture, values or attitudes; yet still this frail 83 year old British woman is Head of the State of Jamaica. Our Government is formed in her name (the executive power is vested in her, our parliament consists of her, a Senate and a House of Representatives), our laws are given assent through her representative and all high officials of our country are appointed by and through her. Wait, it gets better. Up until recently, our Prime Minister’s swore allegiance to her. The Most Hon. P.J. Patterson corrected this, and our PM’s now swear allegiance to the people of Jamaica. Thank you Mr. Patterson.

As Jamaica approaches the 50th anniversary of it’s independence, discussions and considerations are again centred around whether the time has come for our country to take the step towards Republican status. That is, having a President as our Head of State.

Let me state my bias at this point, I’m in support of Jamaica becoming a republic.

The present Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, indicated in the House of Representatives this year that he would begin discussions on deciding if and when Jamaica should adopt republican status. According to him, the issue of contention was how the President should be appointed, a general election? Or another method of appointment? He says there is disagreement on this.

However, a recent poll shows that 6 in every 10 Jamaican national believes that Elizabeth II should remain as Head of State. I admit myself baffled, genuinely puzzled, that any Jamaican could wish to hold on to this connection. For me, it is a matter of national dignity, full independence and pride. As far as I understand the role of Head of State, this should be a person the country can rally around. A symbol of the country’s shared values and attitudes; this person should reflect and embody the uniqueness of a people. Queen Elizabeth is anything but that for Jamaica. In fact, I doubt the monarch knows very much of our culture and realities. She has not lived the Jamaican life, she does not know the day to day struggles of our people. She could not possibly understand what it means to be Jamaican, let alone to represent the spirit, resilience and pride of our people. She rarely even comes here. I think in 1962 our leaders perhaps saw some political advantage of retaining her as Head of State, it was perhaps necessary then. We were after all a brand new country. We needed the connection. That necessity has long since passed.

After some 300 years of emancipation and 50 years of independence, I’m saddened to see that our people have not yet understood the significance of either of these feats. I say this because the same poll referenced above tells us that the majority of those polled believe that Jamaica should still be a British colony. This amounts to a slap in the faces of all those who gave their lives so that we could enjoy a free and independent society. I t would appear that instead of coming together and truly building Jamaica, we would prefer to default back to Britain in order to live an easier life. That’s the only explanation I could think of. I concede that our political leadership has failed in ensuring that 50 years later Jamaica is on a path to development, but isn’t that our fault? Did we really demand and require change and progress from our leaders? Or did we just accept empty promises and white washed policies? Think about it.

The situation is worse because Britain seems keen on severing all ties with us. We require visas to travel there, their Supreme Court President has subtly suggested that we should stop bring our judicial appeals there and perhaps the greatest embarrassment is that the very man who represents the Queen here as Head of State, requires a visa to visit the woman he represents. And yet we as people, so devoid of pride and any sense of national dignity, would suggest we would be better off as a colony. Have we forgotten the injustices our people suffered under colonization? The labour riots? The marches for rights? The violent suppression of those demonstrations? The lack of a universal right to vote? I go further, have we forgotten that Britain and it’s society enslaved our ancestors? Have we forgotten? And if we have, why? I do not wish to be sensational, but these are the issues I’ve seriously taken into consideration. We need a Head of State that understands what it means to be Jamaican. One that can inspire our people to greater heights, that person is not Elizabeth Windsor.

I’m calling for Jamaica to do what is right and what is dignified and adopt a republican status. I’m proposing that the President be elected by ballot of the House of Representatives, any candidate receiving a 2/3 majority of the vote would be elected President. I’m proposing that this person be a natural born citizen of Jamaica, resident in the country 10 years prior to his/her election. This person would be elected to a term of 10 years and should not be eligible for re-election after that term expires. This person could only be removed by death, resignation or impeachment (a trial conducted by the Chief Justice sitting with 4 other justices of the Supreme Court). I further propose that this person be commander in chief of the armed forces of Jamaica and have discretion in :

– Appointing The Speaker of the House of Representatives (not an elected member)

– Appointing The President of the Senate (not an elected member)

– Appointing 5 Members to the Senate

– Appointing All Other High Officials, after consultation with the relevant body (Public Services Commission, Judicial     Services Commission etc)

– Appointing Commissioners of Enquiry & determining Terms of Reference

– Declaring States of Emergency, after consulting with the Cabinet

This person should also be entitled to sit in any Cabinet meeting and should have the power to bring sanctions against the Prime Minister and any Government Minister for misconduct, with the advice and consent of the House of Representatives.

I have more detailed recommendations, but time and space (and your patience) will not allow me to continue.

In short, I want a President who will have some amount of executive power but still answerable to the parliament. In granting some powers to the President, we lessen the central role of the Prime Minister in our democracy.

So yes, God may save the Queen; but let Him save her for the United Kingdom and other realms where she has more influence and relevance. The time has come for Jamaica to become a fully independent state, The Republic of Jamaica.

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14 responses

  1. TinyDivaNas

    I had this discussion with co-workers over a month ago and the older ones were in agreement with the majority who were polled. About that poll though, I’d like to know who were sampled to see if they were truly representative. If they are from my generation or the one right before, their opinions are baseless because they do not know of the experiences back then and, as such, are just looking at financial benefits that we would supposedly have.
    Jamaicans don’t seem to be able to grasp that no-one wants us. Hell, we don’t even want ourselves. We have a hatred of ourselves as a people that we seem to be proud of because every Jamaican who turns their nose up at other Jamaicans seems to conveniently forget that they are scoffing at their own damn self! It’s quite sickeneing really and shameful. However, I’m aware that my opinion is not the popular one as most Jamaicans seem to lack a sense of shame. ” WI jus waan freeniss and get-rich-quick schemes”. Our attitudes need serious change but I don’t see where that will come from. I can only try to do my part, bit by bit. Maybe I’ll start a revolt. We’ll see

    July 1, 2011 at 1:01 am

    • I’ll be in the streets with you. I think it’s time Jamaica has a serious wake up call. And I agree, we do hate ourselves. I don’t even think we realize that we do. We have no sense of pride or as you said, shame.

      Brick by brick, and bit by bit, let’s try to change things.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:05 am

  2. Quite enlightening. I didn’t know that the governor general needed a visa. That makes no sense tho. =\ if they don’t want to have much to do with us, why do we wanna keep the link? Are there any major benefits that may influence us negatively if we choose to become a republic state? #ThePeopleWantToKnow
    Honestly tho,at one point,i also said that the country may have been better off if we were still a british colony. So i never really thought of the fact that saying that would basically be “a slap in the face” to those who fought for our independence tho. Like…i only said it tho because our politicians are able to get away with murder…literally. But i Guess i take it back now. I always wanted a republic tho.

    I asked a friend today, and he basically spoke about the benefits, like the fact that they train the high ranking army officials[or something of that sort] and the emergency assistance they may provide following a natural disaster. But would becming a repubic mean that we cut all ties with the Queen and England? I don’t think that would be the case…. =/

    July 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    • I’m glad you commented, since you’re the one who brought the poll to my attention first.

      Your friend’s comments betray the fact that as a country we are still so very dependent. We are yet to break that chain, that expectation that we need outside and foreign assistance and intervention we are to succeed.

      In any case, his argument for retaining The Queen is not strong. Removing her as Head of State does not equate to severing diplomatic relations with the UK. We will still maintain a High Commission there and they will do the same here. Any disaster assistance we may require, we would request as a sovereign and truly independent state.

      As it relates to training military or police personnel, I doubt that would cease. The UK and Jamaica have long partnered in these matters to ensure Jamaica’s crime fighting capabilities are strong. The UK has a vested interest in this, so as to prevent the flow of drugs from Jamaica into their own country.

      I think as a country we just can’t conceive being truly independent and standing on our own feet.
      Thanks for your comment and keep reading 🙂

      July 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    • The “high ranking army official[s]” i.e Potential Officers have the option of doing their training in one of 3 places: England, Canada or the United States. Us (Jamaica) holding a republican status would (I highly doubt) not nullify that agreement.

      Regarding emergency assistance after a natural disaster. That wouldn’t change much either. We have no official “ties” to the USA, but by virtue of our diplomatic ties with them they help us (among other countries).

      The pros of becoming a republic far outweigh the cons. Jamaica has been “standing” on its own for a while and Britain has never been our “Knight in shining armor”.

      We were exploited as a colony while under british rule and a lot of what they are today is because of what those before us had to do, not only in Jamaica, but the other colonies of that time.

      Away with the Queen as the head of state.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:06 am

      • Hear! Hear! I need not say much more.

        July 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm

  3. Jamaica must wear a Crown, Queen or King, Jamaica is Royal and will forever be Royal, Give us a Jamaican Crown, Elizabeth will conseve in her old age and bequeath a Crown to Jamaica together with digital copies of 55o looted Ethiopian manuscripts including the Ethiopian Royal Chronicles, Jamaica must wear a Crown.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm

  4. Jon

    I hope that my post will be published though it may end up being long. If it is too long I would appreciate if the first section is posted and that I be allowed to post the other sections as follow up posts. Thank you:

    First in your section about the qualities that should embody the Head of State of Jamaica you said:

    “this person should reflect and embody the uniqueness of a people. Queen Elizabeth is anything but that for Jamaica. In fact, I doubt the monarch knows very much of our culture and realities. She has not lived the Jamaican life, she does not know the day to day struggles of our people. She could not possibly understand what it means to be Jamaican, let alone to represent the spirit, resilience and pride of our people. She rarely even comes here.”

    However, I don’t see how any future President of Jamaica would fulfill these requirements. How many of our current political class have “struggled” “day to day” through life? Bruce Golding? Not him, his father was a politician and he was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth. Daryl Vaz? Certainly not. Why up to the other day he was able to visit the United States visa-free unlike the vast majority of his constituents. Roger Clarke? His girth tells another story.

    Also I don’t know how you know what Queen Elizabeth does or does not know. She had been very progressive in her time as Princess (especially with regards to race) and knew a lot and probably still knows a lot about practically all the places at the time of her ascession (the same cannot be said for a lot of us Jamaicans however) – I challenge anyone to find any quote by Elizabeth II which even remotely indicates that she doesn’t have a clue about the countries now in the Commonwealth.

    I submit that in fact quite a number of Jamaicans would find shared values and attitudes with someone who believes in racial equality, democracy, law and order such as Elizabeth II. Note for instance we have politicians who admit to knowing that their fellow members of parliament were unconstitutionally elected but chose to let it slide for political expediency. That is not the kind of values and attitudes that decent Jamaicans should share or should want to share. Whenever the Queen visits there are usually large crowds who aren’t enticed by the promise of party handouts or money as in political rallies, but come to see the woman and expect nothing in return (though some may be giving her thanks for touring their street since her tour route is usually fixed up)

    Secondly your point on the poll results for remaining a colony has a few generous assumptions:

    “I say this because the same poll referenced above tells us that the majority of those polled believe that Jamaica should still be a British colony. This amounts to a slap in the faces of all those who gave their lives so that we could enjoy a free and independent society.”

    Which persons gave their lives so we could live in an independent society? Paul Bogle? George William Gordon? You could not be talking about them because I’ve never heard nor read anything on them which even remotely indicates that they fought for independence. They fought against injustice, but fighting for justice is not the same as fighting for independence. One can just as easily fight for justice and not fight for independence (think Martin Luther King – he did not fight for Black independence from the United States; sticking with the USA, it also gives us an example of where one can fight for independence and at the same time defend injustice…as seen in the struggle of the Confederate States to establish an independent state that would perpetuate slavery). So if not Paul Bogle and Gordon, then who? Nanny? Well there is debate about if she was even real. Norman Manley and Sir Alexander Bustamante? Neither of them died in obtaining independence and actually Bustamante was quite actively opposed to independence for a long time.

    We need not create myths surrounding our independence.

    “Have we forgotten the injustices our people suffered under colonization? The labour riots? The marches for rights? The violent suppression of those demonstrations? The lack of a universal right to vote? I go further, have we forgotten that Britain and it’s society enslaved our ancestors? Have we forgotten? And if we have, why?”

    I doubt people have forgotten, but what is being overlooked is that these characterisations are of a colonial past that was practically non-existent by 1944 which was the year when we had the franchise extended. By 1944, slavery was also long since ended for over 100 years. So what relevance does slavery and restricted franchise have on our colonial past after 1944? Were Jamaicans slaves in 1956? Were there labour riots after 1944? Were there violent suppressions of demonstrations in the 1950s? Did Jamaicans not have the right to vote in 1957? If so, and if current British colonies such as the British Virgin Islands enjoy all the liberties we currently do (full voting rights, no slavery) then why the assumption that persons are not thinking of the post-1944 colonial period and of the experiences of our own former colonies (the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands) and other territories (BVI, Anguilla, Bermuda…) which are still under British rule? Have we forgotten our own home-grown violence which would go a long way towards dampening enthusiasm for our State?

    “The situation is worse because Britain seems keen on severing all ties with us. We require visas to travel there..”

    This is actually our fault, not Britain’s. Quite a number of other Commonwealth countries (some in the Caribbean) still do not require visas for their citizens to travel to Britain. The reason why? Well only because they aren’t major drug trans-shipment points. Around the time the visas were imposed I well remember reading stories about lots of drug mules being apprehended on flights to London. Now what did the Jamaican government do about it? Did they revoke the passports of these persons causing shame and disgrace on our nation? No. Did they attempt to heighten screening on passengers leaving the island? No. Now what was the reaction of Jamaican society? Did we see lots of letters in the papers calling for government action or even berating these drug mules? No, in fact it was like the drug mules were not our problem. So since we failed to do what was right, Britain did it for us and introduced new screening measures at the High Commission.

    I’m actually one of those young people that TinyDivaNas believes have “opinions [that] are baseless because they do not know of the experiences back then and, as such, are just looking at financial benefits that we would supposedly have.” and I can categorically state that this is folly on TinyDivaNas’ part. Just because one did not experience a time period does not make one’s opinion “baseless”. Otherwise any reference to slavery by anyone who was never a slave is also “baseless”. I need not have lived in 1794 to know that slavery was awful for the enslaved. I also need not have lived in 1950 to know that it was more peaceful and better governed than today. I also know that had we been a British colony we would have been better off because after the 1940s the British took colonial governance and democracy and law and order seriously. Note that in the Turks and Caicos Islands they have removed a totally corrupt government and are preparing for new elections. Had we been a British colony there is no way they would have let our politics get so intertwined with criminality. I also know that we need not have been a British colony to prevent our politics from getting mixed up with the criminal underworld.

    August 16, 2011 at 1:19 am

    • First of all, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the issue. You’ve raised so many issues, I’m not sure I have the time (or space) to respond to each, though you yourself harbour many assumptions.

      As it relates to Queen Elizabeth’s knowledge of Jamaica, anyone can study Jamaica from a book. Anyone can be taught, through a British person’s eyes, what Jamaica is about. The fact that she has read literature on Jamaica, it’s people and it’s culture; doesn’t assist her in necessarily understanding anything. I’m sure she has read the literature and has been schooled in the ‘culture’ of former colonies like Uganda or Kenya. Does that mean she fully understands those people? Absolutely not. Not to mention at her age when she must all but be slipping in and out of sanity now.

      The large crowds she draws is more out of fascination and mysticism than anything else. Not because our people feel any real allegiance to her. We simply like the romantic idea of a Queen and it shows how we are still so retarded by the colonial process. Further, President Obama would arguably draw a similar crowd should he come here, we might be fascinated by the POTUS.

      The proposed President of Jamaica, though he may not be poor, would have lived in Jamaica and had a better sense of what obtains day to day here. I noticed you only referenced the ‘kept’ politicians by the way. There are great stories of triumph and victory in the House of Representatives, read the bio of all 60 members. Not just prominent ones.

      As it relates to the slap in the faces of those who fought for independence, Bustamante put himself in the line of fire in protest against the cruel ways of colonization. He led to the dismantling of the Federation, convinced that Jamaica needed full and complete independence. One doesn’t have to die to prove that a cause is worthwhile to them. So I’m not sure why you declared that neither of them died. Those who fought for independence go far beyond those we celebrate as heroes. They are the ones we dishonour by wishing to revert to a society that no longer wishes to be attached to us. They have put in place everything to separate themselves from us, let us have the self respect to relinquish the bonds that hold us.

      Thanks again for your comments. They are well appreciated and I’m sure they’ll stimulate thought.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:28 am

  5. John H

    “As it relates to Queen Elizabeth’s knowledge of Jamaica, anyone can study Jamaica from a book. Anyone can be taught, through a British person’s eyes, what Jamaica is about. The fact that she has read literature on Jamaica, it’s people and it’s culture; doesn’t assist her in necessarily understanding anything. I’m sure she has read the literature and has been schooled in the ‘culture’ of former colonies like Uganda or Kenya. Does that mean she fully understands those people? Absolutely not.”

    Taken to its logical conclusion this means we should give independence to Tivoli, Rema and those other communities. The culture prevalent in inner city communities is quite removed from the culture of the middle class and upper class and from the culture of the poor class in rural areas such as fisherfolk and farmers. Anybody can read up on the garrison mentality and culture, but then as you pointed out that doesn’t necessarily assist in understanding anything (I disagree on this point by the way, because reading is essential to understanding; the idea that we must experience something to understand it is a view that went out hundreds of years ago – again I don’t have to experience slavery to understand it, nor do I need to see a million dollars to know it exists). Put another way – do you live in an inner city? Do you fish for a living? Do you farm? Are you a rich banker? If you are not all of these things in one, how can you claim to understand them all, let alone any one of them?

    “Not to mention at her age when she must all but be slipping in and out of sanity now.”

    There really is no need to denigrate an old lady because of her age. That kind of “ageism” reflects poorly on anyone. I’ve known people who were 90+ who were not “slipping in and out of sanity” and were in fact quite sharper than a number of persons who were barely 30.

    “The large crowds she draws is more out of fascination and mysticism than anything else.”

    How do you know? Do you poll even a fraction of the crowds she draws in Jamaica? If it is out of fascination, then why was it the last time I saw her tour, there were smiles on the faces of those in the crowd?

    “Further, President Obama would arguably draw a similar crowd should he come here, we might be fascinated by the POTUS.”

    I don’t doubt for a minute that far more people in Jamaica would feel allegiance to Obama than any President of Jamaica from the current political class.

    “The proposed President of Jamaica, though he may not be poor, would have lived in Jamaica and had a better sense of what obtains day to day here.”

    But this is a contradiction. If he is not poor like the majority of the population then how can he have a better sense of what “obtains day to day here”? If he doesn’t have to agonize over whether or not to buy food and never sets foot in certain areas or lives in unsanitary conditions, then how would he have a better sense of what is going on? I’m pretty certain some foreigners (such as volunteer workers) have a better sense of what is going on for the majority of Jamaicans than do the Jamaican shareholders of major local corporations. Perhaps on that logic, we should allow those volunteer workers (for such organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Food for the Poor, etc) to run for the Presidency of Jamaica.

    “Bustamante put himself in the line of fire in protest against the cruel ways of colonization.”

    But Bustamante did not die, did he? He did not give his life. As I pointed out, we need not create myths surrounding our independence. The fact that we obtained independence peacefully is something that should actually be celebrated.

    “So I’m not sure why you declared that neither of them died.”

    I was pointing out that your statement about persons giving their lives for our independence was not correct and it still is not. We actually dishonour them by making such assumptions because it is as if what they did wasn’t great enough without they’re taking a bullet to the heart.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

  6. John H

    “I noticed you only referenced the ‘kept’ politicians by the way. There are great stories of triumph and victory in the House of Representatives, read the bio of all 60 members. Not just prominent ones.”

    And do we seriously expect anyone else other than the “kept” politicians as you call them, to ascend to the highest office in this country? Most of the politicians in this country went to university (quite a few went to university abroad). How on earth do they reflect the majority of their constituents? You must’n forget that it is actually the prominent ones who have any chance of leading because of the way our society has been corrupted. Think now, who are the most popular politicians in the PNP? Answer: Portia Simpson-Miller and Peter Phillips. Who are the most popular politicians in the JLP? Answer: Andrew Holness, Christopher Tufton and Bruce Golding. All prominent and not one of them could be characterized as having “struggled” through daily life.

    “Bustamante put himself in the line of fire in protest against the cruel ways of colonization.”

    By the way, when Bustamante did this he was not in favour of independence at that time. He was standing up against injustice on behalf of the labourers, which as I pointed out before is not the same thing as fighting for independence.

    “He led to the dismantling of the Federation, convinced that Jamaica needed full and complete independence.”

    Yeah….that’s how it went. It had nothing to do with the fact that when one of Bustamante’s DLP (yes, “DLP” – he founded the federal Democratic Labour Party which included the JLP) seats in the federal parliament became vacant that he and the rest of the JLP leadership, not having the cash to fund another by-election then decided upon a course of complete opposition to the Federation. You can ask anybody in the JLP who was around at the time (and I’m not talking about persons who were boys and attended JLP rallies). That is what happened. Bustamante was surely a great person when it came to caring for others on a personal basis. There are many stories that bear this out including his standing up for the rioters and more personal stories such as his driving all the way from Palisadoes to St. Mary to give Mr. Dudley Thompson a ride to visit his newborn baby even though Dudley Thompson did not agree with Bustamante’s politics. There is also the story of his saving a policeman from a roudy crowd. That said, Bustamante’s stance changed quite a lot over the years from being intially supportive of the federation under certain conditions (note that it was his JLP government from 1944 to 1955 which signed Jamaica up to federation in the first place – nobody forced him or the JLP to do so as yet another myth, that the federation was imposed on us by the British, would have people believe – remember that British Honduras, Guyana and the Bahamas all decided not to join) and opposed to independence. Initially from 1947 to 1955 he expressed no problems with the number of seats that Jamaica had in the federal parliament, but once in opposition he began to demand that Jamaica get its fair share of seats (which is ironic because when he was in a position to actually get said fair share he did nothing). Bustamante and Norman Manley were undoubtedly good men on a personal level, but we must not forget that above all else they were politicians and politicians (as opposed to statesmen) are opportunists and never let an opportunity for political expediency slip (or rarely do). Whilst everything was fine the elder Manley was quite supportive of federation AND independence, but once he realized that Bustamante might gain some political leverage through his opposition stance and attacks on the idea of federal tax then he ended up attacking aspects of the federal government too. Nothing has changed since, because our current politicians do the same thing, except we have now replaced federal tax with national tax as the issue.

    As long as we cling to embellished stories of our past we will never progress because we will never learn from our mistakes (since the embellishment hides the mistakes). For instance one story is that Jamaica was a paradise in the first few years after independence under the JLP government at the time. A reading of “A Tale of Two Islands” will quickly put that notion to rest. In it’s comparison of Jamaica and Barbados it outlines in one section what happened with the GDP and unemployment during this time which has been summarized here (http://www.nber.org/digest/may09/w14604.html): “When Jamaica gained independence in 1962, the Jamaican Labor Party (JLP) held a parliamentary majority. For the next ten years the JLP remained in power and GDP per capita grew at a rate of 5.4 percent per year. However, for a variety of reasons, that strong growth was accompanied by rising unemployment. The unemployment rate was 13 percent in 1962 and 23.2 percent in 1972. Rising unemployment, income inequality, and the attendant societal tensions proved too much for the JLP.”

    Now in all those 10 years, what did the government do to stem unemployment? Is it any wonder that large sections of the population were swayed by Michael Manley’s “better mus’ come” slogans? And then Jamaica got stuck with his ruinous policies, only to be followed by Mr. Seaga and his uncomfortable close links with persons such “Jim Brown” and that Israeli “consultant” whom Knesset (Israel’s parliament) members warned his government was a reputed Israeli gangster (even more telling was that plan the “consultant” concocted which Seaga approved of hiring planes to fly from Colombia of all places to land in Jamaica and pick up winter fruit to send to the United States….why they had to hire planes from Colombia is beyond me unless they were also ferrying drugs). Without learning from these mistakes we will repeat them and never get umemployment under control.

    Why is Jamaica poor? Well Jamaica is no different than it was in the 1950s really except that crime and violence are worse. Statistics show that during federation Jamaica accounted for about 50% of the population but approximately 60% of the trade deficit….So just like today we were buying more than we were selling, and no Trinidad was not the problem. Our major trading partners have always been the USA and UK, but despite our supposed resources and resourcefulness we have never really attempted to move up the value chain when it came to products. Yes, we now turn bauxite into alumina and alumina is worth more than bauxite. But you what is worth more than alumina? Aluminium. Aluminium now costs about US$1 per pound. Alumina only costs US$0.12 per pound and it takes two tonnes of Alumina to make one tonne of Aluminium. So Aluminium is worth 4 times as much as Alumina. Outside of federation we were never going to generate the power needed to convert alumina into aluminium cost effectively, although we nearly came close when a plan was hatched in the 70s (1974 to be specific) to build an aluminium refinery in Guyana utilizing it’s mighty rivers for hydropower and capital from Trinidad for the start up costs. In Guyana bauxite is found deep under some solid, thick rocks and is expensive to mine. In Jamaica bauxite can often be found on the surface. So the plan was to build the refinery in a place with a lot of potential for cheap power (Guyana), using money form a place that had it (Trinidad) and alumina from a place where it was easy to mine (Jamaica). Now why did this plan fail and why doesn’t Jamaica now earn 2-4 times as much from its current production of bauxite? Well, it was because Jamaica then decided to sell a lot of bauxite and alumina to Venezuela….an of course once Seaga came to power in 1980 that was never going to happen again because his anti-regionalism. Particularly puzzling about this anti-regionalism and anti-federalism displayed by a lot of Jamaicans is the fact that it is contradictory to the principles of real heroes like Marcus Garvey who espoused Pan-Africanism and after all, even though we may forget, the people of the West Indies are actually black! Sure there are some East Indians in Trinidad and Guyana, but are they not brown? Have they not been similarly subjected to worst aspects of colonialism in the past including indentureship, restrictions on the right to vote and exclusion from social mobility? Particularly puzzling is that a lot Jamaicans who display these nationalist (as opposed to patriotic) attitudes are ones who live in countries which are currently wealthy and great as a result of being federations and founded on the principle of unity and federalism: Canada and the United States. And I say nationalist, because it is the kind of attitude that requires the denigration of the Other (so putting down “small islanders” and disparaging the British as “old” and “slipping in and out of sanity” or being “oppressors” (when in fact not one Briton is alive today who ever owned a slave)) in order to lift up perceptions of Self. This is a negative attitude and is the opposite of patriotism which espouses ideals inherent in one’s Self and does not discriminate or denigrate or seek to subjugate the Other. A particularly good outline of the differences between patriotism and nationalism can be seen in George Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism”.

    “One doesn’t have to die to prove that a cause is worthwhile to them. So I’m not sure why you declared that neither of them died.”

    Just to clarify this was your own statement: “This amounts to a slap in the faces of all those who gave their lives so that we could enjoy a free and independent society.” By saying that someone “gave their lives” you were indicating persons who died in the process (that’s what the phrase means after all). Neither Bustamante nor Norman Manley died or more specifically were killed in the process of independence. Both died quite a fews after independence was already a reality. So of course they died, but as I said, neither of them died IN obtaining independence. Neither of them gave their lives in order to obtain independence and I’m saying we must be careful not to create myths of heroes dying for our independence as it actually detracts from and dishonours the memory of those who died for something far more important than symbols – justice (think Bogle and Gordon who were both hanged).

    August 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  7. FUCK!!!!!! All you man that are saying “yeah lets be a republic” are EEEDIOTS….look at the Republic of Ireland….some economy but then look at bermuda,falkland,jersey,cyprus etc. i sure wish i lived there under crown rule….getting the benifits of a Uk citisen rather than be “a proud man of the poor country rep. jamaica….I’ll bet meh life that about 90% of comments on this page our from america or england cause i know that real jamaicans not the rich half white, mixed indian jamaicans arent doing well enough for internet, but i can’t argue my dad’s born Uk and my moms jamaican dutch and i can say i never lived in a shack or had to worry bout hunger like the 35% of jamaicans living under proverty. Grow up, the worlds changed the brits arent the same as 50 years ago…………………BUT WE ARE

    October 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm

  8. I really enjoyed reading your blog post, very good, I wish others would debate the issue instead of resorting to cursing and calling people names simply because they have a different view but hey, you are not here to please people you are here to say your piece, give your opinion regardless of the response.

    “What is missing from this debate is a comprehensive list of Pros and Cons reasons by all concern about why Jamaica should become a Republic or not become a Republic, a list of Pros and Cons on keeping The Queen as our Head of State and mutual benefits that it may or may not will bring. It cannot be only for sentimental reasons whatever decision we make must be a working decision.”

    February 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

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