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There are those among us who believe that Jamaica was a better place before Independence on August 6th 1962. There are those among us who believe that under crown Colony life was far better than life since Independence. I am here to say that those among us who believe that life in Jamaica was much better under British rule before Independence, when Jamaica was a crown colony are totally ignorant of life in Jamaica before Independence. Perfectly brainwashed by our colonial masters and their descendants
who controlled the whip hand of life. In fact echoing the colonial master’s position that life was better under colonial rule and even during slavery is not wrong on the part of the Colonial Master because their life was perfect, top of the food chain living in luxury at the expense of the Black population.
Happy Independence Jamaica 2018 celebration emancipation day
I have even seen articles in Jamaica’s National Media outlets declaring that certain aspects of life during Slavery and just after emancipation was better because Jamaica was the first country to get this, that or the other. Often these are things that the vast majority of the black population had no access to and made zero impact on their daily lives because these things existed to serve our Colonial and Slave masters not the slaves. Please explain to me how Falmouth’s running water which was put in place between 1799 and 1805 benefited Jamaica’s black slave population?
Michelle Rousseau of Bellefield Great House in an Interview stated the following about the great house: “It really is a step back in time, you know, in the heyday of our sugar production. So, you know, that’s kind of what we try to do here: take people back in time, you know, to 1805 before the “abolition of slavery” when Jamaica was a really SPECIAL PLACE!”…… Before the abolition of slavery when Jamaica was a really Special Place….. And I must ask ….. “Special place” FOR WHOM? But I know exactly what she was saying it was special for her ancestors, who lived a privileged life in the great house and she sees herself in them, history through their eyes. People like Michelle Rousseau inherited slavery money and all the privileges that came with it and is still spending slavery money to this very day.
The Jamaica Gleaner published an article titled “Why is Jamaica so poor”, written by Keiren King, in which Mr. King stated… “Two hundred years ago, Jamaica was the richest colony in the British Empire by a distance, and its citizens, like Simon Taylor and Thomas Thistlewood, the wealthiest. Falmouth famously had running water before New York. How did “we” go from such prosperity in 1814 to such poverty today”, Again “PROSPERITY” for whom? Thomas Thistlewood in particular was the butcher of Jamaica, the man was a sadist who enjoyed making his slaves suffer. He was so disgusting that he even embarrassed other plantation owners in Jamaica and the UK, his reputation for brutality was well known. But here we have Mr. King, using Thomas Thistlewood as a shining example what was right with Jamaica.
Lashed and cudgelled, slaves would have salt rubbed in their wounds or molasses poured on them to attract biting flies and ants. Firebrands were applied to their bodies; ears would be cut off, roasted then forced fed to them. From Thom Thistlewood’s diary, author Douglas Hall narrates:
In July, Port Royal, who had run away, was taken and brought home. ‘Gave him a moderate whipping, pickled him well, made Hector shit in his mouth, immediately put in a gag whilst his mouth was full & made him wear it 4 or 5 hours.’
Next day, the 24th, a woman slave, Phillis, caught breaking canes, was similarly treated, but spared the gag.
Friday, 30th July 1756: Punch catched at Salt River and brought home. Flogged him and Quacoo well, and then washed and rubbed in salt pickle, lime juice & bird pepper; also whipped Hector for losing his hoe, made new Negro Joe piss in his eyes & mouth.
On the 4th, Derby was again caught, this time by the watchman as he attempted to take corn out of Col Barclay’s Long Pond corn piece. He was severely chopped with a machete, his right ear, cheek and jaw almost cut off.
On the 27th of the same month Egypt was whipped and given ‘Derby’s dose’ [that is Derby was made to shit in his mouth] for eating cane.
On Thursday, 5th October, Hector and Joe and Mr. Watt’s Pomona were similarly punished for the same misdemeanor.
During Colonial British Rule, before Independence Jamaica was described as the Slum of the British Empire, a place of great poverty and after several deadly riots by the suffering masses The British sent Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne to the West Indies to investigate. The Report of West India Royal Commission, also known as The Moyne Report, was published fully in 1945 but it came out long before that and was suppressed by the British. It exposed the horrendous living conditions and great human suffering in Britain’s Caribbean colonies.
At the time of the report and during colonial times under 30% of the population was literate, could read or write. At the time of the report and during colonial time unemployment and underemployment rate was as high as 50% of the population.
At the time of the report and during colonial times there was little investment in infrastructure and almost no investment in housing for the people. The People of Jamaica lived an impoverished hard life on mountain sides and most did not have water, they relied on rivers and if lucky standpipes.
At the time of the report and during colonial times the people lived in the dark, by lamp light, there was no electricity in most of the island. In fact rural electrification started long after independence, same for access to clean drinking water.
At the time of the report and during colonial time’s disease among the population ran rampant with regular outbreak epidemics across the island, most had no access to healthcare, poor sanitation and contaminated water supply and in 1937-38 there were regular widespread outbreak of malnutrition, such was the state of British controlled Jamaica.
What Investments the British made was done for the purpose of efficiently extracting wealth and for the white ruling class to live comfortably while the vast majority of Jamaicans lived way below the poverty line. Conditions got so bad that riots became commonplace and British troops were regularly called out to quell the uprisings and put down rioters.
“Any society in which more than half the total workforce cannot read and write, in which the distribution of ownership of land and of the means of production represent gross and growing inequalities, is an affront to any notion of social justice, however loosely defined.”
Jamaica is a country with so much potentials, we could have achieve so much more as a people if we only apply ourselves to Nation Building but after Independence we did not think or operate as a collective, for the collective good, the greater good, in the national interest. I will be the first to say that we have NOT achieved our full potential since independence. After emancipation and in the early 1900s early Jamaicans were more Nation Builders, infused with the spirit of Nation Building back then, than Jamaicans today. Jamaica achieved more in terms of Nation Building when we were supposed to be ignorant, illiterate and suffering, back then we acted for the Collective Good. Back then we fought for and achieved EMANCIPATION, HUMAN RIGHTS, WORKERS RIGHTS, UNIVERSAL ADULT SUFFRAGE and INDEPENDENCE against our colonial masters but since independence we wasted decades fighting each other over rubbish.
Since Independence more people have a say in how the country is run.
Since Independence more people have access to Employment 90.2%
Since Independence more people have access Housing
Since Independence more people have access to clean Running Water
Since Independence more people have access to Electricity
Since Independence more people have access to Healthcare
Since Independence more people are living longer
Since Independence more people have access to Education
Since Independence more people, 88.7% are Educated
Since Independence more people are Foreign Educated
Since Independence more people enjoy a Higher Standard of Living
Since Independence more people suffers from overabundance of self-entitlement, greed, selfishness, corruption, self-importance and a callous disregard for human life and the welfare of others and a callous disregard for our Environment. All this coupled with diminishing morality, lack of self-respect, poor personal responsibility, piss poor Problem/Solution skills and a twisted confusion that Freedom and Indiscipline is one and the same. Some wear their ignorance like a badge of honour, their pride and joy.
But we are a young nation and must learn from our mistakes and learn fast. I LOVE MY COUNTRY, Love my people and proud to be a Jamaican. I look around at all these first world countries with their racism and hate and I am happy that this rock is my birthright.