I left Jamaica in 1961 because my parents wanted to leave—I was 6, so had no say in the decision. I returned to Jamaica in 2013 because my wife took a job there—I was 58; again, it wasn’t my decision.
On at least two occasions, I tried to go back to Jamaica to work, and both times it did not materialize. When I graduated from my master’s programme in urban planning, I tried to get a job with the Urban Development Corporation: no dice. When I was mid-career at the Bank of England, I tried to get a job at the Bank of Jamaica: again, my skills were not in demand, so I went and took the offer to work at the IMF. One of my funniest early experiences at the Fund was being in a room with the Jamaican delegation negotiating a program in the early-1990s, when one of the team said to me “You look familiar,” to which I smiled and said “You interviewed me and turned me down for a job.” Let’s say that the meeting had a rather funny ha-ha feeling.
I lived in Barbados when my wife took a job there in 2007. I had also had the opportunity to work in Barbados in around 1989, when I was offered a job at the Caribbean Development Bank to work as an economist. I flew down from London for a long weekend and interview and was back at work on Monday: “How was your weekend, Den?” 🙂
My first-born could have spent some formative years in the Caribbean from about age 2; instead, she grew up in Virginia. My second-born was born in Washington DC, and spent her early years in Guinea, west Africa, then three years in Barbados from about 4 and then in Jamaica from about age 10.
What could have been? But, it is what it is.