Two Jamaicas?

One thing you should learn early in your life is that the words of politicians are to be taken, at best, with a grain of salt, and probably a good bushel. If anything says has a grain of truth, chances are it’s been warped in some way of other. So, why am I going off on them today? Well…

Over the weekend, we had one of those singular apparent clashes of culture that one often doesn’t script because they are too painful in their truthfulness. Yet, happenstance throws these things up for us to gasp and wonder.

Carnival had captured the city of Kingston for several days and before the Road Marches on Sunday last many neighbourhoods had been graced with the loud noise of parties (mainly Soca, but not exclusively, based on what I heard at 1am) into the wee hours of several nights. I do not know who or how often people complained about those parties and their noise. I don’t know if they had the requisite permits, etc. However, on the evening of the Road Marches a well-known regular dancehall event was closed down, patrons pepper-sprayed and proprietor arrested…apparently, for noise and permit issues. Well, in steps the politician. 

Our Minister of Culture etc., Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, lamented the arrest and is quoted as saying: “…it sends the wrong message that there are two Jamaicas…”

My question is this. Where else have we seen these ‘two Jamaicas’ and how often do we see them sending the ‘wrong message’ yet simply let the time pass without the need for comment, from politicians in general or Cabinet Ministers, in particular? 

As I walked this morning, I just totted up some glaringly obviously examples of the ‘two Jamaicas’ and the ‘wrong messages’. The list is not exhaustive and feel free to add to it, at your leisure. Here goes!

  • Uptown-Downtown
  • Kingston-Country
  • Prominent high schools-Other high schools
  • Calabar-Rest of Boys’ Champs
  • Boys’ Champs-Girls’ Champs
  • Usain Bolt-Other Jamaican mortals
  • Babsy Grange-Lisa Hanna
  • Dancehall-Soca
  • Toll-road users-Other motorists
  • Gated communities-Other communities
  • Defendants with high-profile lawyers-Other defendants
  • Adidja Palmer-Other prison inmates
  • SUV drivers-‘Deportee’ drivers
  • Licensed drivers-Taximen
  • Car owners-JUTC riders
  • Jamaican culture lovers-Lovers of anything foreign

Is my point clear? I hope so.

So, my follow-up question is whether these other ‘two Jamaicas’ are important or not, and are we going to see measures taken quickly to address these divisions.

    Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

    Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)