Posts Tagged ‘jamaicans’

Let’s talk about Jamaica or better yet, “Mek we talk bout Jamaica!”

As known to the world, Jamaica is one of Earth’s most beautiful countries, as far as landscape goes, and could be discussed to amazed adventurers and Bucket List tourists, in more than a million ways. And it is true, no photoshop edits and no hidden disclaimers are to its advertised beauty; Jamaica is simply a natural beautiful place.

But Jamaica is equally ugly among its inhabitants. This beautiful gem has been suffering for years from the gridlock of corruption.

For a Country, which is one of the world’s most desired and go-to tourist destinations, raking in millions of dollars annually, most of its residing residents continue to live below poverty line, resulting in frustration, aggression and an often render to crime and violence as solutions.

Still, this ugly nature within the island has never been successful in dimming the light of beauty which this country is made up of.

Warmth, kindness and friendly smiles remain unmoved from the faces of the majority; Jamaicans, who are proud to call this island, “The Land of My Birth” or simply “home”.

Let’s talk about Jamaica, its history, its current affairs, its culture, its changes. Mek We Talk Bout Jamaica, because a fi we place, whether we are there or temporarily living abroad. Let’s discuss every little issue as means of making our opinions heard as an influence of direction. Mek We Talk Bout Jamaica to show that we care. It’s simple: I talk about an issue, you agree or disagree, comment to start a reasoning because each one, teach one. And don’t forget to subscribe.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2019


Sketch art of Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, by artist Tina Sebàs. 

“Does Jamaica finds pride when its death toll outnumbers the previous year’s?”

Logically, that should be an absurd question, but a closer look will quickly void all views of lucidity.

While most countries of the world, in particularly Japan, takes pride in the growth and maintenance of its population and utter shame in death tolls, when it comes to Jamaica, it is unclear about its feelings towards the deaths of Jamaican citizens.

A blatant disregard of human life was recently aired on Jamaica’s television, CVM, gained extended views on social media and caught my attention when it was posted on Facebook.

The video which showed a blurred image of a man, who was shot, laying on the ground and struggling to stay alive, while surrounded by police officers, made me sick to my stomach as I watched in disbelief and listened to the voices of off-cam bystanders, uttering their resentment for what they were witnessing.

It is one of the most inhumane and disgusting footage I have ever watched, online, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force should be condemned for such stance.

I say “one of” because this follows a video footage, which was also posted online, recently, by teenagers in the USA, who giggled and uttered words of disregard, while filming a drowning man.

It appears that the teens were high on drugs and or alcohol, at the time, and although this does not justify their actions nor provide a clear understanding, those factors coupled with their undeveloped, youthful brains could at least bring us to a perception’s stalemate.

But I refuse to put responsible adults, who are trusted to serve as a part of a country’s national security, in the same category as ignorant juveniles.

Police officers are put in place, by government bodies, for citizens and visitors to feel safe within a country, and by safe this includes, serving as a refuge and protecting life, by all means necessary; thus, to stand by and do nothing as a fellow human being bleeds out profusely, making no attempt to aid him, must warrant being a crime, somewhere between the pages of Jamaica’s constitution.

Life should last as long as we can aid it to last, and the life of a human being should never be last to consider.

If a violation of this opinion is not a crime, in respect of man-made laws, it is certainly a moral crime among humanity, and as a Jamaican, who is proud to be from a country, which is considered one of Earth’s paradise, for having exquisite beauty, a unique culture and some of the warmest human beings on the planet, my level of patriotism has been surpassed by my pride for Jamaica, when they should be level-pegging.

Pride, in my opinion, means a personal happiness and bragging rights received from an embraced ownership of anything perceived as good or positive.

Patriotism, in my opinion, means a loyal citizen, who stands by his or her country and calls it home, despite its growth’s directions.

Over the years, gangster-style policing in Jamaica has created more mistrust and criminals, in the Country, than it has decreased crime; whereas, the citizens have no faith in the due process procedures, and often take matters into their own hands, despite being govern by democratic laws.

Police, often kill alleged criminals in Jamaica, which creates a wondering, if they too (the police) doubt the due process of Jamaica’s courts system and are playing judge and jury.

Considering my definitions and my uneven declaration, which is undoubtedly equally shared by many other Jamaicans, the government of Jamaica has a job to do, and that job is to make all Jamaicans, near and far, see Jamaica as not just a place where they are from, but to see it as home.

Home in the fullest sense of the word; home, a place where we feel most safe and secure.

© Ian T. Sebàs

© Ian T. Sebàs 2017

It has only been recent since Jamaicans began to take pride in eating ground foods; known better as ‘grung-food’ on the island, yams, bananas, breadfruits, corns, chayote (cho-cho), callaloo and other locally grown agricultural foods have, in the past, suffered years of rejection and placed secondary, as choice, when it comes to what Jamaicans prefer to eat.

But because of poverty which shadows most Jamaican families, at different hovering proximities, ‘grung-food’ has been triumphant time and time again for being on dinner plates, as meals of the day, serving itself in many different fashions.

This victory is usually non-celebratory as most Jamaicans, before, ate these foods not by choice, but by affordability.

The only longstanding pride of eating ‘grung-food’, by Jamaicans, belong to the Rastafarians, who have always known, valued and embraced the nutritional offerings from nature as gifts.

Other than the Rastafarians, most Jamaicans hung a curtain of shame when these foods were to be consumed.

With a brainwashed mentality and being foreign-minded of wanting to keep up with the Joneses, many Jamaicans desired fancier foods. If it was advertised on television, afforded by the so-called upper class, then it was considered better than ‘grung-food’, and so, a facial expression of disgust on the sight of ‘grung-food’ being served as a meal became the norm for many.

Two types of Jamaicans, often ate ground foods; Rastafarians by choice and the poorer class by affordability.

Back then Jamaica was strongly seen as two parts, town and country, where Kingston was considered to be the only modern hub of the island; thus, seen as town aka The City, all other regions outside of Kingston were simply considered to be country and last for everything considered to be modern or trendy.

So, in reality, Country People eating ‘grung-food’ was very common and with that same notion, Country People who could afford to eat ‘fancy foods’ also had their egos boosted, believing that they were better than their neighbours, who were left with just ground foods as meals.

Still, the answer had always been transparently evident when comparing Town People to Country People; people from Kingston usually appeared feebler in structure versus the Country People, who often appeared fit, muscular and strong, but despite this, muscular and strong was never craved.

Before the island was stormed by US styled fast food chains serving burgers, pizzas and carbonated soft drinks as quick meals, the fastest serving foods available to Jamaicans were beef patties, meat loaves, bun and bulla cakes; these were also very affordable foods, by most, along with locally made boxed juices, drinks and carbonated sodas, which did not fall into ‘class foods’ and have always been equally embraced.

Unlike the local fast foods, rice versus dumplings, meats versus cabbage, callaloo and ackee told a different story.

Fish, Chicken, Oxtail, Beef, Pork and Mutton were meats that said, ‘a person was doing well, financially’ especially if it was coupled with rice and not dumplings, while callaloo, cabbage and ackee were seen as an opposite expression, especially if it was served with ‘grung-food’.

I remembered, as a youngster, during my displacement phase, I was temporary housed with one of my Aunts, who had an agreement with my parents to shelter me, in exchange for some money, which she never received.

This made my Aunt furious, and in exuding her rage, on Sundays, while she fed her children rice and peas and chicken, I was fed yam, banana and cornmeal dumplings with cabbage or callaloo, as punishment.

Interestingly, at the time, being served this kind of food made me felt grossly mistreated, a misconception held by me and my Aunt.

And as the world modernizes itself and information becomes more prevalent about all things, including the benefits of ground foods, which most Jamaicans have ate, often, throughout their lives, accreditation for their nutritional bodies, lifesaving and health preserving effects have now been widespread.

While the key formulas for biological repairs and disease suppression have always existed in these foods, there is an irony in the history of Jamaican grung-food rejection; a gift from nature which offers long life and great health were draped with curtains of shame, by millions, and my Aunt, who thought she was mistreating me, actually fed me better than her children.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2017

© Ian T. Sebàs

For centuries, even before its independence, Jamaica has been tormented by two consistent plagues; one of nature and the other of acumen.

As a child, growing up on this renowned island was not always sunshine and white sand beaches, for me, I was not there for Spring breaks nor Summer vacations; I was there every day, every month and every year, benefiting first-hand experiences of day to day activities and the people, which eventually summed up to being a Jamaican.

Therefore, tropical storms and hurricanes are no surprise to me. Jamaica has long accepted Mother Nature’s annual visits, and in anticipation of her yearly presence, architects have done their best in designing and redesigning structures; sometimes to great successes and other times not.

If there is anything to know about Mother Nature, it would be that she is unpredictable; a fact proven in May of 2017 when two-thirds of Jamaica was submerged under water.

Heavy rains and floods amounting to as much as ten feet of water, in some areas, damaged almost everything in their paths, but most disheartening, left many people homeless.

And although I did not acquire the information first-hand nor by being in close proximity, news and footage posted on social media’s live feeds, pretty much gave me a vivid overview from a secondary seating perspective.

I watched in horror as vehicles occupied with people were besieged by water, causing narrow escapes and near death frights. Informative commentaries echoed as narratives of the unfolding events, varying in tune, at times, and it was not long before I was forced to watch in criticism as oblivious attitudes blended in with important information of a national emergency.

Overwhelmed with disgust, I witnessed mockeries and laughter, coming from onlookers, as chosen reactions to one driver’s reckless decision which almost took the lives of his passengers.

Another post was in transparency of Jamaica’s second plaque, ignorance, as many Jamaicans blamed local politicians for the floods and held them responsible for their losses.

While, in an effort to educate, one politician explained that it was merely an act of nature. He further clarified that gutters, gullies and waterways were fully maintained and it was an inadequate infrastructure, made for a lesser anticipated flow of water, which caused the slow reduction.

Tragedies, as usual, created an opportunity and opportunities have never failed to show the meagre moral standards of men, so it was no surprise that amidst the crisis of a national emergency, the opposition party saw it as a prospect to discredit the ruling government; an act which continues to influence the lesser educated to mimic.

Intelligence is a valuable commodity as much as ignorance is. Shared intelligence offers benefits to a whole country and equal opportunities to gain wealth, while the distribution of ignorance does not benefit a whole country, but only allow wealth to be accumulated by its distributors.

There are a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong with Jamaica, and although no country will ever get it all right, there is always room for growth and improvements

It is being encouraged, by me, that the Jamaican government stresses the importance of Adult Education, in Jamaica, and put in place another system similarly to that of JAMAL which seeks to educate the old as equal as the young, because illiteracy is an obvious crippling factor against Jamaica’s growth.

In addition, integrate swimming and make it a mandatory academic activity; shamefully, most Jamaicans are non-swimmers.

Jamaicans must realize that a government system is not to be considered similarly to the expectancy of their parents; government is merely a management department of a country and similarly to managements of companies, their purposes are to provide certain operations of interest, while each citizen, like employees, must pull their own weight.

Politicians are assumed to be among the brightest minds of Jamaica, and in order to maintain that supposed perspective, it is being advised that they must know when to put their personal interest aside and put the interest of the Jamaican people first.

In such a state of emergency, the real opportunity was for the non-ruling party to band together with the ruling party and show the Jamaican people that whenever their country is threatened, by any force, it is relevant to retire all made-up divides and demonstrate, to the world, that we are not JLP nor PNP, neither high class or low class, but that we are Jamaicans.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2017

© Ian T. Sebàs

Even though the title of this article, as I have named it, contains a substantial volume of absurdity, it is as unfortunately true as it is ridiculous.

I recently stumbled across an article, on one of my social network sites, and although I usually scroll pass post which appears vain and useless, this one’s heading, although fitted the category of being impractical, attracted me enough to click its link.

Apparently, some authorities in Barbados, particularly in the immigration department, possess an intense prejudice for Jamaican nationals, who visits the Country; this bias appears to claim justification under being wary of criminal suspects. And although I am in full support of ‘being wary of criminal suspects’, despite their nationalities, Barbadians suspecting Jamaicans as criminals is a laughable notion as a person looking in a mirror, accusing his reflection of being someone else.

These two Countries fall equally under the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a similar system to Europe’s EU (European Union) where it is formed to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members and to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared. Bottom line is, these two countries share the freedom of movements in and out of each other’s island, and like kissing-cousins, these two islands and their citizens face the same level of economical strain; in other words, there exist no real financial advantages for either citizens, when migrating to either of these islands.

And for these reasons, when a Jamaican travels to Barbados or a Barbadian travels to Jamaica, the purpose is usually leisure in tourist mode.

According to the article that I read, a Jamaican national boarded a flight from Jamaica to Barbados, and while airborne, she queried about the availability of tea, and based on her query she was suspected of being a criminal, mistreated, arrested and detained for a few months in Barbados before being released with an apology.

The article, as expected, was bombarded with comments, which many wrote describing the incident as common, but in a sigh of relief, many nationals of Barbados commented in utter resentment of the treatment received by the Jamaican national, and encouraged the application of a lawsuit.

Prejudices are rife in this world, and if these authorities know as much as I do, over the time of living outside of the Caribbean Communities, they would welcome each CARICOM members with smiles and respect, because unity is strength and we are all that we have.

Outside of the CARICOM, we are seen as foreigners, not as Barbadians, Jamaicans, Trinidadians etc; we are seen as Black or as Caribbean People and we are treated as such.

For example, in the European Union, WE are not first pick for employment, simply because we are not of the EU, and that is okay, EU citizens should be first pick in their communities; after all, it is their home. Wherever they roam within the borders of the EU, they are welcome, under the law without prejudice, and are allowed to equally travel and enjoy the EU’s tourism without harassment.

So, Barbados may want to take a page from the EU’s book and smarten up; being prejudice against your own kind is as ridiculous as it is a joke for outsiders looking in.

I can just imagine their mockery over this situation, “Hahahahaha, they actually think that they are better than the others because we have given their countries different names!”

Fair skin, dark skin, brown skin, light skin are still black skin. House slaves, field slaves, still a slave.

“Barbados, wake up!”

The Caribbean Communities are governed by mutual democratic laws, protecting its citizens, and my only hope is that this individual exercises her human and constitutional rights by suing the responsible department for her unfortunate ordeal, and although money cannot retract the experience nor buy back violated dignities, I urge her to take these individuals to court, for the maximum monetary fine allowed under the law, and set an example for any future likeliness.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2017

© Ian T. Sebàs

My prolific reputation has gained substantial growth from the exercise of my God-given personality, which appears to be unique, although I must also accredit my culture and stern upbringing for the individual which I turned out to be.

Most of my actions and reactions toward general matters are usually deemed as unprecedented, when they are compared to the average person in a modern society, and despite being law-abiding, the extra-ordinary behaviours which I tend to exude, from time to time, have thrown me under the light of being a suspected criminal rather than to be acknowledged as a strong individual.

Living in Switzerland, a Country which is regarded, by me, as most orderly, most clean and possesses one of the world’s best standard of life, I honour its laws, its history and its current status. But Switzerland is no exception when it comes to crime; after all, crimes are committed by people and people are what makes up the Swiss population, and like most modern-day world, Switzerland has opened its doors to a variety of nations, and among those who have entered, myself included, are a variation of nationalities aka foreigners.

And as it is renowned, foreigners come with rumored reputations, which tend to lead to prejudicial expectations; i.e. If you are from Africa, the trust factor, for you, compared to another foreigner, who is from another European country, is of a different tier; for each foreign citizen, exist an expectation, which in most case is criminal.
I believe that maybe someone with a doctorate degree, in so-called Human Studies and Psychological Behaviour, convinced the world’s government that studies can indeed foretell the behaviours of us, based upon the country in which we were born.

If you find yourself laughing, at this moment, please make it brief because this is as serious as death.

My unprecedented actions, so far, include migrating to Switzerland, where I did not know anyone nor where the country was actually located, and I can see from another person’s point of view, where that could create suspicion of me being, maybe, a criminal on the run or maybe I am a spy for some top secret organization, but the reality is, I am just a man, who knew that I could move to and live in Switzerland, considering the satisfaction of its immigration laws, and that’s what I did. – That I will accredit to my years of sitting in classrooms, where some of my intelligence were gathered.

While living in Switzerland, I have returned valuable gifts, quit jobs without the promise of a new one, sued employers, walked when I could not afford to drive, stayed hungry when I could not afford food, went without new clothes, lived in poor conditions and smiled when I ought to be crying. This I will accredit to my culture, Jamaica; Jamaicans are brought up to be tough, sacrificial and be faithful to a God, who will never give them more than they can bear, and moreover, to deprive oneself of dignity is the lowest fall of all.
And with these unprecedented acts added, more suspicions arise, because according to the trusted studies, no man can be that strong nor that sacrificial, and somewhere in my story, a lie is expected to be uncovered and new truth found.

Switzerland having one of the world’s best quality of life does possess a social welfare system with the purpose of making sure that none of its inhabitants live below the poverty line, but within that support are pros and cons.

Despite being the law of the land which gives me legal right to be supported by the State, my cultural beliefs have led me to find shame in such support, even if I am unemployed; I am young, strong, educated and has no physical incapability, therefore, I should be able to work.

But when someone, like me, claims to be unemployed and still refuse to be supported by the State, it creates criminal suspicion rather than seen as moral ambition.

My last unprecedented action was when I appealed a judgment of a Swiss Court, and won, which made national news. And for a brief moment I was famed for the action, which must have shredded the results of human behavioural studies, considering that I am a foreigner, who was born in Jamaica and lives in Switzerland.
The very next day after I was seen on television, by millions, I was approached by a stranger, in a supermarket, who asked if I spoke English. After answering “yes”, the expected question of “Where are you from?” followed and I answered “I was born in Jamaica, grew up in the USA and lived many years in the UK”. She said that she too lived in the USA and was from Jamaican and African parentage; happy to have common grounds, we were both delighted and exchanged contact info.

She later contacted me and declared some of her personal problems, which included being undocumented in Switzerland and wanting to find a job. She was clear in asking if I knew where she could find “cash in hand” employment which required no tax nor personal identification. I then informed her that Switzerland is as strict as strict countries come, and she must be legitimate and be documented in order to work in Switzerland, and even if, by chance she was employed, without documents, it would be required in the immediate future.
Fortunately, for me, being law-abiding, this was my “unprecedented” aid to the stranger, whom I woke up a few days later thinking about.

Call me paranoid, but after reflecting on the incidents which led up to our unplanned collision, I concluded that this stranger was an undercover police officer or an informant/investigator for the police.

My unprecedented actions have made me into a suspected criminal, who might be living from undocumented incomes.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2016