Colonialism and neocolonialism in Jamaica

By Maurice Haughton

It is now 51 years since Jamaica had to its Independence, however, it is like a baby whose umbilical cord was never severed at birth. The baby grows up, underdeveloped with limited mobility, still attached to its mother by an extended umbilical cord. This attachment restricts the baby’s movement while giving an uncaring mother a great degree of control; she can impose her will, put unfair demands on the child, withhold food, and take from the child if the child does not conform to her wishes .This metaphor is a depiction of neocolonial control over Jamaica.

For many years colonialism milked Jamaica and other Caribbean countries by imposing a false identity on our people, diminishing resources that affected growth and development. In spite of the richness of these countries, they are still referred to as Third World and underdeveloped. All the post-colonial unrest and instability in the Caribbean has the footprints of traditional colonial entities. They usually come into the country, attach themselves to some factions, mostly opposition parties, then supply guns and ammunition, dangle the carrots, and influence elections. Their main objective is to prevent governments that would encourage self-reliance, equality and justice for the people. They rather keep the masses poor and needy so they can pass their breadbasket and their offering plate in which they drop a penny and take a pound .They come under false presence as human rights advocates, freedom fighters and stability agents, while instigating and spreading propaganda to create unrest among the people. They create artificial shortage of basic foods like bread, milk and flour so the poor cannot eat, all to undermine the Government. Given the circumstance, any baby would buckle under such pressure, while the mother undoubtedly grins as she gets her way, just like the old days of gestation when the baby must shuts its mouth and take whatever comes its way.

During colonialism, Jamaica had to blindly ingest the unsavory meals served up by colonial powers. They took our harvest and gave us slaves to create more harvest. It is true, “I and I build a cabin, I and I plant the corn. Now you look me with a scorn then you eat up all my corn”.

Marcus Garvey spoke out against it and Michael Manley tried stopping it, but overpowering forces fought back, using everything from the IMF to big businesses and capitalist tactics. Neocolonial influence is all over the Jamaica today. After 300 years of Emancipation, and 51 years of “Independence”, people are still talking about ‘God Save The Queen’. When did the Queen ever say ‘God Save Michael Manley, Portia Simpson’ or any of those stuff shirts who claim to represent her. In 2009, England suspended part of the constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands over allegations of corruption. Like a scolding mother, she usurped the democratically elected government and replaced elected officials with her own appointees. For those who wish Jamaica was still under British rule, is that what you want? Why not ask your fairy godmothers for a couple of slave masters and some backra massas too.

All elected officials in Jamaica must take the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty: “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her heirs and successors, according to law. I remember as a young man in Jamaica watching a parliamentary debate when Michael Manley stated that he could not mean it in his heart but he was obliged to so swear. He said, while he respects the Monarch, he did not think the people of Jamaica should have to take such an oath. I remember the opposition pushing back on the idea. Manley wanted true independence on all fronts and was not willing to be anybody’s puppet. He was not afraid to associate himself with those the world hated; he had a mind of his own. Michael Manley put up a good fight against neo-colonial forces.

It’s time to chase those self-serving bald heads out a town. It’s time to stand up to neocolonial forces, throw away the wigs and gowns and pay allegiance to the people of Jamaica. Stop licking the back of Mrs Elizabeth’s head on those stamps, how many Jamaicans are on British stamps? “Jamaica, Land We Love” what about Jamaica’s people we love. Stop allowing the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, stop the slave wages when people are paying an arm and leg for food. Trinidad recently gave a 12-14 per cent wage increase across the country, it’s Jamaica’s time.

God bless Jamaica, but it’s time the parties come together and make it about the people and not politics.

Maurice Haughton is a freelance journalist living in Philadelphia, USA. Send comments to: haughton727@ymail.com

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