Archive for October, 2015

It would be remiss of me to not say something about the visit of the “Honourable” prime minister of the United Kingdom Mr David Cameron to these humble shores. How could I not speak about this former colonial power paying a visit to the former pearl of the empire, an outpost which undoubtedly represents one of the anchors of the wealth that this metropole now sits upon?

Now such a wry introduction doesn’t even begin to cover the vast gamut of emotions and deep lying issues that this innocuous official state visit has evoked. The only analogy that seems fit is that Mr Cameron’s visit and all its trappings and layers have scratched the scab of a long inflicted wound.

The word in the air from the rumour came about that Mr Cameron would be visiting these shores was REPARATIONS, with one member of parliament going as far as to declare that there should be a boycott of any visit of Mr Cameron to Gordon House if the matter of reparation (which was unanimously agreed to in principle in said Gordon House previously) was not placed squarely on the agenda.

What we received was at first a Floyd Mayweather “duck and move” in his parliamentary speech where The UK Prime Minister, with familial ties to the royal family and himself a descendant of slave owners in Jamaica, boldly declared that slavery was really really bad but as two nations that are now friends we really should be looking to the future that is to say MOVE ON!!! with the bonus that the UK was the one who spent decades ridding the world of this yucky slavery that was really bad. Commendations to you sir.

The second punch was more direct and to continue with the boxing metaphor was more like an effective Lennox Lewis jab. In his small interface with journalists after visiting our National Heroes’ Park Mr Cameron unequivocally confirmed that reparations are not the way to go, we are looking forward plus we are spending and continue to spend millions in Jamaica. Can’t believe you all aren’t happy.

But what Mr Cameron forgot is that CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING. The aid that the UK has and continues to give Jamaica and the Caribbean is commendable but none of this is given in a historical vaccum. Many, many columns and blogs and pages have been written about the sociocultural and psychological wounds that the transatlantic slave trade have left with us. BY no means do I want to get into all of that in detail, but Mr Cameron must know that the great Britain, the great empire of old and the G8 developed country of now stands on the shoulders of our perished forefathers. In fact Mr Cameron, has an almost ironic place in this contemporary history as the intergenerational wealth which allowed this man to be educated at Eton and then Oxford and the wherewithal to become Prime Minister is founded in not only the toil of slaves in this here Jamaica, but also the financial windfall which his antecedents received in the form of REPARATIONS for the loss of their property when the really really bad yucky slavery thing that we spoke of above was ended.

Again I say context is everything. So Mr Cameron thought that he would perhaps receive a cordial response if not a hero’s welcome for the raft of aid and developmental assistance he came “bearing as gifts” but instead he has affronted almost an entire nation. in fact if it were the Japanese Prime Minister Abe, that also shared some hours in our Jamaican shores with Mr Cameron, who announced the aid package that the UK Prime Minister did he would have definitely been positively received. this is even including the now infamous “Prison Gift.” I assure you that another head of state could have made the case for this Prison deal which I think is fundamentally flawed yet not the devil it has become to be seen as. BUT NOT MR CAMERON. Why? Because rather than as a Government and Nation that has committed arguably the greatest atrocity in human history, the United Kingdom through its Leader who intergenerationally has directly benefitted from the spoils of slavery refuse to say what have become some of the most difficult words to pass through lips…” I am sorry…WE ARE SORRY”

So Mr Cameron you and your fellow countrymen who seek to keep a running tab on all the money you have spent in the former empire as means to justify not considering reparations should know that at the core the academic literature on Reparations show that the simplest but perhaps most important aspect of righting wrongs and this is indeed one the greatest wrongs known to man, is the act of accepting and owning this wrong and apologising for it. Thereafter we can get into the mechanics of the finances.

It is undoubtable that post colonization the UK has spent a lot of money in these neck of the woods but subsequent to the REQUIRED apology let the actuaries from both sides of the Atlantic sit at a table with their calculators and do the math of the difference between all that was pilfered from this side and what has been sent back in the other direction.

I conclude with the words of another British politician…The newly elected Leader of Opposition in Britain and a so called friend of Jamaica. Is there better yet upon the horizon…Time will tell.