Sat | Nov 18, 2017

Brian-Paul Welsh | Jamaica farewell

Published:Monday | August 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM

As we came down from the excitement of Great Aunt Babsy's annual Gala bashment, the sobering reality of what we call life on this rock after half a century of so-called Independence knocked many of our patriots senseless and irreparably damaged the outlook of the rest of us who still hope to manifest the Jamaican dream in spite of our nightmarish existence.

The grim nature of present-day Jamaica stands in sharp contrast with the idyllic island in the sun currently presided over by Prince Charming and his financiers from the Far East, and no amount of fancy fireworks or optical illusions could possibly blind us to the truth of our lived reality.

Every day, new reports emerge detailing the brokenness of this troubled country with its wanton acts of violence, pervasive intolerance, brutish interpersonal relationships, and careless administration, all while the Government's PR machinery, effortlessly coordinated by a slippery gang of green wizards, continues its weekly spin cycle to hide the dirt and mask the stench.

 

SCOLDED FOR AMBITION

 

In another of our regular displays of endemic backwardness, self-appointed opinion leader, bastion of moral virtue and proclaimed psychologist, Leahcim Semaj, last week scolded young people for being ambitious enough to seek dignified lives overseas rather than staying in Jamaica and lining up at his Job Bank for slave work and insulting indentureships.

This after Bill Johnson's recent statement of the obvious from his latest poll that revealed the majority of educated young people would leave these barren shores for more fertile environments overseas should they ever be given the chance.

Essentially labelling young Jamaicans ungrateful for aspiring to more than the path to poverty, the man formerly known as Michael James, who experienced his own mental shift in a foreign institution, lambasted young people for going out to seek more for themselves.

As if that wasn't enough, Semaj went on to opine that many who leave Jamaica find themselves relegated to second- or third-class status in the countries they inhabit, while forgetting to mention that even while possessing this imagined superior status, most first-class university-educated professionals in Jamaica will remain underpaid, overworked and frustrated their entire careers without the ability to ever honestly put a roof over their heads much less protect it from criminal infiltration or bank repossession.

I don't know about the other unnappreciative vagabonds of my generation, but I'd rather be a comfortable peasant in a safe and developed foreign land than a first-class pauper in a country where I must firmly lock the doors to my expensive rented hut and sleep with one eye open.

How many more educated, driven, and determined young people need to sacrifice their sanity or their lives trying to make ends meet in this country while it remains forever hostile to their success? For too many of us, Jamaica has become a place where dreams come to die.

So since Semaj and others of his ilk remain smug, self-righteous and dismissive of our cries of desperation, and the society itself continues to devolve to a state of anarchy, my advice to any young person afflicted with the curse of ambition is to get rid of any romantic ideas about the land of their birth and face the facts.

Jamaica is not, and might never be, the place of choice for you to make an honest living while realising any of the dreams your parents tried their best to convince you were possible. That Jamaica is long gone, and, instead, what we have remaining is a land of broken promises, broken hearts, and broken spirits, with lovely old neighbours like Leahcim Semaj to regularly remind you how much money they wasted on your education.

But there's hope! If you manage to dodge debt collectors, you might have the chance of deciding between a career as a telephone operator or street light inspector.

If you are still content to live where some vacation and few can afford to reside, you're welcome to remain in Jamrock while the rest of us continue to try to get out of paradise.

- Brian-Paul Welsh is a writer and public affairs commentator. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and brianpaul.welsh@gmail.com, or tweet @islandycynic.