Saturday, September 18, 2010

'Resigning' from Jamaica

Letter published in the Gleaner | Saturday 18 Sept 2010

The Editor, Sir:

Columnist Garth Rattary's article in The Gleaner of September 14 was quite instructive. This article reflects the feelings, emotions and actions of many Jamaicans who are disgusted and fed up with what is happening in our country, yet feel powerless in effecting any meaningful change.

My wife and I have five grown children, all of whom completed their tertiary-level education in Jamaica. Only one now lives and works here, although in earlier days they all had high hopes of contributing significantly to their country. The others live and work in other parts of the world. As parents, we are only happy that those who have left worked in Jamaica long enough to serve what could be considered voluntary 'bond' period.

Our second daughter, whom I considered well-positioned to lead a successful life in Jamaica with her family, called me one night five years ago, requesting of me some personal information, which I supplied, but which got me very curious. When I enquired what was the reason for her request, the response was "Daddy, we are planning to migrate."

Lost hope

"Why?" I asked. She explained that she was losing hope in the country's future and that if she remained her quality and standard of life would be compromised.

In addition, she said that the widespread crime wave and corruption throughout the system, uncertainty in our jobs and earning prospect made it difficult for her to be satisfied to raise her children here.

Shortly thereafter, she packed and left with her family. Where they are now, many of the challenges they faced in Jamaica are behind them. Our first son and his family packed and left Jamaica. The other son also migrated. Our first daughter had also left many years earlier.

At first, my wife and I were very disappointed that our children had opted to leave our beautiful country. However, they, like many others, are seeing things differently. They have resigned from Jamaica, only to pay the occasional visit. This is but one family. Think of the number of other families with a similar story.

Disgusted and frustrated

My observation is, while many of our leaders fiddle with the future of our country, many of our qualified young persons are disgusted and frustrated with what is happening in Jamaica. They seem not prepared to stand up and fight to rid the country of the many ills that beset us. Is it a cop-out, or have they tried as if they were hitting against a brick wall?

The young people, like many of us older ones, cannot understand why those elected to govern and manage the affairs of the country cannot be trusted; why the leaders place so much emphasis on party and so little on country, and why it seems their real intent is to gain and retain state power at any cost, even at the cost of their own integrity and the faith of the public.

Those of us who are not prepared to live elsewhere must join forces with persons of goodwill to chart a visionary and workable agenda to save this country, Jamaica, and move it forward for all the people.

A process of rescuing the country from those discredited leaders has started among some people. What we need now are leaders of integrity and trust to lead the change process to enable the people to regain hope in our country. Jamaica and Jamaicans deserve a chance to progress. Persons of goodwill, I make a public plea, in spite of our frustrations, let us not resign from Jamaica.

I am, etc.,


Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

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