Tue | Sep 27, 2022

Gordon Robinson | My 60th Anniversary dream

Published:Tuesday | August 9, 2022 | 12:06 AM
On Jamaica’s 60th birthday, we are ‘celebrating’ manufactured ‘achievements’ in a country with growth rates of plus or minus nothing for 40 years; a governance structure riddled with corruption; and a population becoming less educated annually.
On Jamaica’s 60th birthday, we are ‘celebrating’ manufactured ‘achievements’ in a country with growth rates of plus or minus nothing for 40 years; a governance structure riddled with corruption; and a population becoming less educated annually.

After Saturday’s Grand Gala, I dreamt of a domino reunion with the players from my teenage years.

Back then, we were all young and idealistic. So, in my dream, I asked them if 2022 reality matched their 1970 Jamaica 60 expectations.

Dessie, the domino genius, said he expected, after a career in Jamaica, to be enjoying his grandchildren in retirement; playing dominoes; and going to Caymanas Park. Instead, despite graduating from Camperdown, he struggled to make ends meet, so migrated to New York where, despite having to endure insult and social discrimination, he secured an excellent job with an international agency and was able to retire and enjoy family life with his secure pension.

The Beast also migrated (Florida), but worked in an organisation with close Jamaican ties. In my dream, he said his expectation was for a peaceful Jamaica, so his family could’ve returned without fear of crime and violence.

Little D said he had hoped Jamaica would’ve won the World Football Cup by now. He worked for some time in Canada before realising “No weh no betta dan yard”, so returned home with family to make the best of it. His disappointment (apart from the World Cup) was banks’ lazy lending policies that prioritised car loans over investment in Jamaican innovation.

Peter Poop’s comment was a loud noise that sent the rest of us scattering.

The Dunce said he didn’t bother with expectations, but only wanted a road to walk on and the odd stone to kick. He repeated his personal philosophy, “If a macca mek it jook yu!”

Only the Dunce, Gene Autry and I never left Jamaica. Gene and I agreed our only expectations for Jamaica were that it would remain OUR Country that WE had an obligation to make it what it could be. We resolved never to get involved in politics unless a government banned dominoes or horseracing.

THAT would mean WAR!

So we worked on building Jamaica as individuals by building families imbued with old-time values and attitudes; educating our children to the highest possible levels; and conducting our careers so as to ensure that, along the way, we quietly helped as many other families as possible.

Haemorrhoid also migrated long ago and pursued a successful career in Australia. In my dream, the resident raconteur and idler (always complaining about “piles and piles” of files on his desk) answered with a shaggy-dog tale (which I’m forced to edit):

“A lady found herself doing some late shopping for a turkey to roast for her family’s Christmas Dinner. She went to several grocery stores (you should thank me for editing out the shaggy-dog details of those visits) but couldn’t find a big enough turkey. At her last available stop, she was picking through the frozen turkeys on offer, but she still couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked a nearby store assistant, ‘Do these turkeys get any bigger?’ The assistant replied, ‘No ma’am, they’re dead.’”

Jamaica isn’t dead, but the hopes and aspirations of the millennial generation appear terminally ill, so they are seeking alternative residential and employment options in droves. They are victims of Governments’ self-righteous satisfaction with business as usual and fierce resistance to forward planning.

NOT A SURPRISE

So, on Jamaica’s 60th birthday, we are ‘celebrating’ manufactured ‘achievements’ in a country with growth rates of plus or minus nothing for 40 years; a governance structure riddled with corruption; and a population becoming less educated annually.

This 60th birthday isn’t a surprise. It’s been coming for 59 years or so. Five years ago, we should’ve been planning and implementing steps to mark our 60th with at least the following real achievements to boost future aspirations:

• Removal of the Queen as Head of State;

• Severing ties with that anachronistic symbol of enslavement, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, that still allows former colonial masters to instruct us how to interpret Jamaica’s laws;

• Widespread consultations to achieve national consensus on a restructured Constitution embodying proper power-sharing and Government accountability;

• New educational curricula to include civics, music and Jamaican history as compulsory subjects.

If we’d started five years ago, we’d have celebrated real transformative achievements on August 6.

That our recently appointed Legal and Constitutional Reform Minister was on her feet in Parliament, in 2022, telling us why we couldn’t meet constitutional timelines for the simplest of these tasks is itself a national disgrace.

Peace and Love!

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.