Yes, I Am Angry and Frustrated. And I Will Yell.
I had a moment on Twitter this morning as I began to see tweets from the first day of a symposium about the proposed
done deal CHEC Logistics Hub (notice the stealthy name change for the project?) in the environmentally protected Portland Bight area of Jamaica. Did I mention that the cost of attendance for the two-day Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) event is JA$10,000 (about US$100)? Lunch included of course. I cannot understand. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that so many are participating in this exercise where information that should be free and available to the Jamaican public is instead being packaged and presented at a function only available to a certain number of people. Yes, it’s being streamed on Nationwide News Network but make no mistake, this function was conceptualized and is being presented only to certain segments of the population: those who will be able to or who are invited to invest. Show the money. But stop. What about any old Jamaican? The symposium has not been conceptualized and presented as either informative, educational, or even as being concerned with any old Jamaican…the same any old Jamaican who this Hub will affect and who, unlike investors, will not have the privilege of “pulling out” should everything go bottom’s up down shit’s creek.
To be clear: I take no issue with the JCC hosting an event for its members’ benefit and interests. But I do take issue with the Government of Jamaica’s participation when that participation presents information that has not otherwise been fully and completely made available to the Jamaican public despite so many questions from the public. The PM of Jamaica gave the keynote for heaven’s sake. Read the JIS press release.
No, this cannot be OK. It cannot. Yet so many are attending because it’s one of the few real publicized opportunities to get any information about this Hub. You are being manipulated. And from what I’m seeing while some helpful information is being provided, there are still a lot of generalities being bandied about. There seems to be conspicuous absence of any articulation of: what the Hub will be, what services it will offer, and how any Jamaican with the means, vision, and talent can participate. O wait, it’s all about low skilled jobs again yes? Tourism sector redux.
So, yes, I am angry and frustrated and I will shout on Twitter as I shout and cuss out loud in my living room. You may find that off putting or “too much” but I rage because of what is being done to my country and in her name. Deep deep frustration. It’s like talking to a comatose patient: you’re not sure if they’re hearing and understanding but you continue to talk in the hope that they are and that they will respond. And, again, to be clear, I do not fancy myself a martyr for or savior of Jamaica but it bothers me no end that I no longer feel welcome in Jamaica, physically or emotionally…yet neither my conscience nor my heart will allow me to “give up on it.” I want so much for Jamaica and Jamaicans, and that so much is better than what it and they are receiving now at the hands of its leaders (elected and otherwise). The helplessness and powerlessness are real and aching, and, yet, what I feel is likely only a fraction of what those who live in Jamaica do or can allow themselves to feel. And I actually suffer in a lot of silence because I live in real fear that my outspokenness will be used against the family and friends I have in Jamaica.
But right now, in this moment, I cannot accept that information is being held so secretively and doled out so jealously to Jamaicans. Information about something that will obviously be so central to Jamaica’s next 20 or even 50 years. Information is power in Jamaica (elsewere too but I’m talking about Jamaica). Information and the access to that information give power. Those who have the information have the power and boy are they wielding it. Make no mistake, you (aka all of unnuh and us) are being given an education in who is in charge, how you should behave, and what to expect. It’s that same kind of attitude that allows one member of the GOJ to console another not to worry because “it” will soon blow over as “it” will only be another nine-day wonder.
Remember that lesson in your education?
Jamaicans are effectively begging and paying their government for vital information about their country. That is absolute unequivocal stark raving madness. Can you not see that? How can we accept this?