In the midst of Emancipation Day, rain fell, lightning flashed, and thunder rolled. Across the English-speaking Caribbean, the descendants of the enslaved in the West and no doubt the descendants of the planters marked the day silently or just enjoyed another holiday.
But as I thought about this season, I realised that here in Jamaica, we had tried to be independent without being emancipated.
Those Jamaicans who declared Independence had not really grappled with what George Beckford described in his landmark publication, Persistent Poverty. The truth is that while some have benefited from the developments in the 57 years of Independence, many are still on the bones of their asses while others have been fatted on the spoils of corruption and patronage.
The idea that mental, physical social and economic freedom would be possible on borrowed multilateral funds is ridiculous. This is happening when a new wave of white supremacy is sweeping the north and the concomitant black inferiority is taking shape with hair, bleached skin and a reversal of the gains of black consciousness.
For many, Independence is about float parades , dancing and having fun. To be honest, I have never heard this year’s winning Festival song, nor does some of the chat mean anything to me.
I believe that as a country, we are having a profound identity crisis and our leaders are themselves disingenuous, dishonest, confused, and corrupt. The vision is just not there.
We cannot transform Jamaica if we continue to be in denial.