The following is a response to the previous blog entry titled Jamaica Is No Paradise:
The response to my Jamaica is no Paradise article has been overwhelming. It is evident that the message has resonated with many, and others have taken issue with some aspects of what was said. The article was initially written in 2011 at a time when I had lost a close friend to gun violence. Therefore my emotions at the time were unfiltered. Although the article is a few years old, I do believe that it is still pertinent to current day Jamaica. I appreciate the feedback I have received and will attempt to address some of the concerns raised.
A few have argued that I was incorrect in saying that there was or is no middle class within Jamaica. My attempts in saying that the middle class was obliterated was due to the great income disparity which continues to exist. The difference between the haves and the have nots is a great one. I do concede however that there is still a minority of Jamaicans that fall within the middle income category. That being said, the economic climate in Jamaica is one which places significant constraints on upward financial mobility for all socioeconomic groups.
Jamaica’s problems are multifaceted and solutions to said problems will also have to vary in approach. Unfortunately I don’t have all the answers to help Jamaica remove that which plagues us. However I firmly believe that a good starting point is with our youth through a renewed education policy. Too many of our younger generation are left to believe that their education is a simplistic routine used to get them to the next grade level. I find that very few see a tertiary education as a possibility. To change this mindset, the youth must be engaged from as early as the primary level to realize what tertiary opportunities exist. This may be implemented by working closely with senior institutions to provide college preview days to the aforementioned groups. In addition, specific social projects could be implemented where mentorship is provided that incorporates mapping out an educational plan to serve as a goal setting formula. Enabling the youth to plan for a tertiary future enables them to see that the work they do today is the foundation for a brighter tomorrow. This in and of itself will not rid Jamaica of all it’s problems, however it is a starting point. I am already examining ways that I may assist in implementing such a program. Education will pave the way for a brighter future for everyone involved. In addition, proper mentorships gives our youth positive role models.
In my initial article I provided some advice to those who reside in inner city communities. In doing so, it was not my intent to seem condescending. I see us all as Jamaicans, regardless of our varied address. The advice I sought to give was a means of providing feedback that will assist our society as a whole. We each have a job to do to making Jamaica a better place. I apologize if my article came off as patronizing to any particular group.
Jamaica for all it’s bad, certainly has a lot of good and I have on many occasions sought to highlight the positives about our society. However, in light of all that is good we have a long way to go in order to place Jamaica back on the path to prosperity. Having been personally affected by many of the ills in Jamaica, I believe it is pertinent to address the issues which affect us negatively. Our accolades will always be there, and yes it ought to be celebrated, but in the same breath we cannot ignore the issues which plague us. In the last decade I have lost a family member and a close friend to gun violence. On more that one occasion I have witnessed the horror which comes with having intruders attempt to break into my family’s home. I have had my heart race when I thought a car was following my family. It is a state of horror that no one should live in. I would like to see a better Jamaica and my attempt to address the ills which affect it is not a mild attempt to be negative, it is an attempt to be realistic.
The bad about Jamaica affects us all, the problem is not unique to the less developed areas of the island. The crime and violence is widespread. As such each individual from every walk of life in Jamaica has the foundation to provide valuable feedback on the topic. Are the problem see face unique to Jamaica? Of course not. The problems in Jamaica are indeed faced in other countries. However Jamaica is my home, and therefore I can only speak on that which I have been exposed to. My heart is with Jamaica and I sincerely want to see us make a change for the better. I love my country and I showcase my nation the best I can on any occasion. I have hosted groups of students in Jamaica, and brought countless friends to see my island home is like. For anyone that think my attempt was to put my nation down, it wasn’t.
The response as previously noted, has been overwhelming. I am taking the feedback as they come, and I am working on varied ways that I can become proactive in fixing the negatives I previously highlighted. They say the first step to solving a problem is by admitting that there is one. I have started that process and I am committed to seeing it through.
© Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.