Jamaica Is No Paradise

My heart is aching for Jamaica. Words cannot describe the hurt that the recent events unfolding in Jamaica have caused me. The tears have flowed, and I have asked myself the same question over and over again; what can I do to help? The more I asked myself the question, is the more I realized that I am a part of the problem.

Growing up in Jamaica, I never took a stand against the injustices perpetuated against my fellow citizens. I sat idly by as the guns barked and innocent lives were lost. Instead of saying something, I found comfort in the belief that the violence in Jamaica was targeted; anyone who got killed was killed because of a bad deed. I took comfort in the fact that I lived in a community untouched by the harsh realities of the poverty which riddled inner city communities. My blessings disguised the harsh reality that some Jamaicans were subjected to.

As I grew older, and in the comfort of life in uptown (the terminology used to refer to life for people in the middle to upper class community of Jamaica) Kingston, I realized that there were certain attitudes and characteristics that defined Jamaicans. It became evident that in Jamaica there was an undercurrent of resentment and culturally misguided thought patterns that were eroding our foundation as a people. Throughout high school I saw students singled out because of their socio economic status in life. I saw people mistreated because they did not fit the status quo for what it meant to be a male in Jamaica, I myself being one of them. Young girls were viewed as objects by their male counterparts; a being meant to be subjected to any mans sexual desire. To my surprise, some women gloated in the fact that were dehumanized to mere species for sexual reproduction and gratification, rather than champion themselves as individuals for a higher purpose.

It became evident that Jamaica had structured racial and social lines. There was the uptown Jamaica, and the downtown Jamaica. The Jamaican middle class did not exist. The rich typically came from uptown, and the poor typically came from downtown. The rich did not fraternize with the poor. It was through this class structure that racial lines were also drawn. Unlike the United States, there was not a two term definition for race (black or white). In Jamaica race was and is defined beyond ones phenotypic appearance. Those Jamaicans who had more phenotypic similarities to white Europeans were seen as more privileged and cultured than Jamaicans who were more afro centric. As a Jamaican with mixed ethnicity, coupled with my privileged position on the upper rings of the socioeconomic ladder, I witnessed a different Jamaica. I took comfort in the fact that I was not singled out because I was black. I was not subjected to extra judicial persecution from the police force due to residing in one of Jamaica’s poorest neighborhoods. But I did witness the mild animosity in high school, I did witness the bullying. I did witness the street protests, and the news feed on television. But I did nothing. My inaction has resulted in the further degradation of the country I call home.

Today we have a Jamaica where our murder rate stands as one of the highest in the world. We have a Jamaica where freedom of speech is not restricted by the government, but by the fear of retribution. One cannot freely stand (in some instances) and defend an issue they are passionate about for fear that they will be killed by their adversaries. Discussions regarding political ideologies and affiliation are limited in some regard, because you may be killed for being too vocal regarding your political allegiance. That is the Jamaica that exists today. Our white sand beaches and turquoise waters have masked the disgusting reality of life in Jamaica.

The success of our athletes and our success in the realms of academia, pale in comparison to the number of innocent lives lost each year. Innocent bloodshed lay splattered across every page of our history. Behind our victories on the field, lies our defeat in the realm of humanity and justice. I have failed to serve my country well. I have failed to live up to the promises I made every time I recited the national pledge of Jamaica, which reads:

” Before God and all mankind, I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart, the wisdom and courage of my mind, the strength and vigor of my body in the service of my fellow citizens; I promise to stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace, to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly, so that Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.”

I stood by passively in 2001 when the government launched a raid on West Kingston that killed 27 Jamaicans. I remained inactive when I heard of brutal slayings on the news in the years to follow. I was shocked, but did nothing when my friend was brutally murdered as she entered her driveway in November of 2009. My heart sank, yet I did nothing, when news reached me that a former schoolmate from high school was slain while talking to a friend by his car.

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Jamaica? Imagine this: Fear gripping you every time the sun sets in Jamaica. Throughout the night your heart races whenever you hear a suspicious sound in the dark. When the bark of the dogs gets louder you wonder if a man lurks in the dark with a gun waiting to kill you. You buy groceries and pull into your drive way, and you hurry to get the door opened, because each moment you spend without tangible protection is a matter of life and death. Every time a car passes your driveway you wonder if the windows will roll down and the bullet of a gun takes your last breath. You shy away from disagreements because you know that in Jamaica sometimes to have an opinion is to have a death sentence.

Life in Jamaica is no cake walk, and the eerie case above pales in comparison to life in the inner city. Living in the inner city means having your life controlled by a gang leader who dictates your every move. Crickets don’t chirp at nights in the inner city, the sounds of gunshots fill the air instead.

Jamaicans have become so desensitized to crime and violence in the nation that murders become a part of everyday life. No one seems ready to tackle the issues that undermines the nation. We are content to just watch Usain Bolt break world records, while our criminal gangs also seek a spot in the record books. We fight, we degrade each other, and we call people names. We suppress free will and civil liberties.

Jamaica failed because we all failed. Some say we are at a turning point in our history, but until we each realize that we have a role to play as citizens of Jamaica; Jamaica will never move forward. To residents of the inner cities, I appeal to you to not have countless number of children if you know you don’t have the finances to care for them. Invest in the education of your children instead of clothes and apparel for the next street dance. Citizens of Jamaica do not litter the roads with your trash, and then expect the government to rescue you when the roads flood because drains are blocked. Do not block roads and then complain about the deterioration of the road surface. Blocking the roads destroy the structural integrity of the very road you accuse the government for failure to maintain.

Maybe when we learn to teach our children to love and respect others, and not how to do the latest sexually explicit dance, maybe then we will move forward. Maybe when our women learn to treasure themselves for who they are, and not exploit their bodies, maybe then we will move forward. Maybe when our men decide that having multiple women and children has less to do with masculinity, and more to do with stupidity, maybe then we will move forward. Maybe when more males decide to be fathers instead of leaving the burden of child rearing to mothers, maybe then Jamaica will move forward.

No postcard or tourism advertisement will hide the fact that Jamaica is a broken country, and a broken system of governance. Frankly, I am disgusted with the state of affairs in Jamaica. I am done playing as if everything is okay. The colors of our flag are black, green and gold; colors which once symbolized the phrase: Hardships there are, but the land is green and the sun shines. If the flag is truly symbolic of a nation, it may do us justice to eliminate the green and gold, just black will do.

I don’t have the answers, and I feel helpless. But today I make the pledge to speak out against injustice when I see it. I pledge to defend the rights of each and every Jamaican, regardless if I disagree with their actions or lifestyle. I pledge to promote brotherhood by eliminating the seeds of discord that has been sown among us. I will hold our political representatives responsible for their actions. I will remember that I am just as important in the system of governance as much as a Member of Parliament or the Prime Minister. Jamaica is the land of my birth, I can never change that. Jamaica will always be a part of me, and until I can make Jamaica a better place, then I must always live with the stigma of being Jamaican.

They say actions speak louder than words…will you act today or will you continue to stand by as our nation crumbles?

[ A response article to the one written above may be found by visiting: http://dimitrilyon.com/2013/12/29/building-a-better-jamaica/ ]

© Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

195 thoughts on “Jamaica Is No Paradise

      1. Hello Dimitri, I strongly support your article titled, “Jamaica is no Paradise”. I am currently living abroad but want to be apart of any effort to get our beloved country back on track. It is a pretty tall order but we have got to stop talking and do something before we reach the point of no return…May God help us!!

  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step (according to some old saying). Good that you recognise and take the step. Hope more people will do the same and the journey continues

      1. I have read your blog and in all honesty, the majority of what you say is true and stands up well. I came to Jamaica three years and six months ago, and what I know is that I will not give way to corruption, no matter how small the amount. I will not turn a blind eye to the injustices that I see, and I will help someone in trouble if I can.

        I know that this can be detrimental to my health living here in Jamaica, but I also know that I have strong believes and I will not just turn a blind eye just because I can.

        Intolerance and injustice is a way off life here, but when I think of how far I have come and what I have had to endure to get here, I WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED, by anyone here in Jamaica, no matter how afraid sometimes I may become. Because as sure as night follows day, it is good to know that I have helped somebody to overcome a situation. This is what keeps me going.

      2. Sandra, it’s efforts like the ones you have done that make Jamaica a better place. You are fighting the fight in the best way you can. I applaud you for that. Thanks for the feedback.

      3. Dimitri, well done and please continue with the leadership position your initiating..simply…straight talk, love it…however, as many of us Jamaicans have also realized the issues on hand and we continue to make comments both privately and publicly, I believe we are either intentionally/unintentionally seeking support for our views, this is great!

        The question is still being asked: What can we do as individuals to enact the positive change we so need within our Jamaican society? I believe firstly, as many have also realized, Jamaica has real problems, many of which are socio-political which leads to several others. I believe we should consider creating/supporting groups of similar interest for positive changes in specific sectors of the Jamaican society, start at the “grassroots”, show the love-spread the love through real transparent positive actions, and we can discuss several areas of need.

        I believe once we start to initiate the connections with like minded individuals with real positive actions, then we can become more powerful in making these changes we so envision…

      1. You sum it up all. Fear is a major factor and to be double cross by some peeps who will say yes today we will protest with you and when tomorrow comes they either pull back because they might get cold feet or been bought. But if we don’t all stand for something we all will fall for anything!

  2. I read your article and I must admit that it is stirring… but I am afraid that I have to disagree with you to a point….your arguments are on point and do explain a part of Jamaica’s culture…. however in my opinion you have over simplified the solution….although I agree that the pen is mightier that the sword in order for real change to occur “uptown” Jamaicans need to physically commit to changing the inner city subculture that is tainting the society rather than discuss it in fora such as this because they are not the ones who read such insightful articles but rather those who are already enlightened to seriousness of the phenomena. Actions speak louder than words….Insightful article though.. 😀

    1. I appreciate your feedback! I do agree with you that all Jamaicans will have to be proactive in order for change to take place. There are a multitude of ills affecting our great nation and it will take a united effort to make things better.

      1. Dimitri, what you have written is true about an ASPECT of Jamaica. It does not represent all of Jamaica. I am proud to be Jamaican and they are a multitude of persons who wish they were from Jamaica. You have highlighted issues within our country which are problems faced by almost every other nation on the face of the earth, maybe even worse in some countries. I agree that it is time we act towards change for the better but we must be careful not to demonize our country and culture. The colours of our flag still fully represent who we are today- our land is still green and the sun still shines radiantly. As a people, given all our shortcomings and challenges, we are strong, resilient and the majority of us are still warm, caring and loving.

  3. How brave you are to talk this stand and speak so authentically on this matter. I stand with you in speaking against the injustices and wrongs that hurt us all.

    1. Delia, thanks for the feedback. After witnessing first hand some of the atrocities pitted again our fellow Jamaicans, I felt compelled to take a stand. The answer to a better Jamaica lies within all of us.

    1. Andrew, thanks for your feedback. My heart hurts for our island home. We just have to continue hoping for and effecting change as best we can…

      I’d be more than happy to contribute to the Jamaican blog should the opportunity arise. Keep me posted. Thanks again!

  4. I must say, zeal is not lacking in your comments, and it is quite evident that you have made some valuable points. However, it is important to note that a country with many individuals,young and old, who have little or no regard for law and order (from the classroom to the streets) we can expect little change. I leave you with a short quote from Ellen G. White “There is nothing to be hoped for in the case of the young, unless there is an entire change in the minds of those who are older. {2T 482.3} Change does begin with you!

    1. Dwight, thank you for taking the time to read and provide valuable feedback. It is indeed disheartening that not many people are driven to bring about the change that Jamaica needs. However, I continue to hope…

      You are correct, the change begins with us. We all just need to make the first step.

  5. I agree with Momo-Mystik and strongly disagree with the idea of Jamaica having no middle class. I am far from rich but far from poor in the sense that I know ppl with a lot more and ppl with far less so I consider myself very middle-class. Uptown Jamaica 4 the most part is a facade, cause there r very few “rich” ppl in Jamaica, well @ least depending on wat u consider rich. Most of us that ppl consider uptown r in the struggle just as much as every1 else and have simply managed 2 carve out a better life than the average Jamaican but still remain far from rich.
    Anyways it sounds like we have the same basic question: how do we implement structural change 2 fix this mess? There really is no easy answer but writing articles like this is definitely a good way 2 encourage the type of conversation and thinking that will lead 2 solutions. You r not alone in feeling helpless sometimes, just keep writing and talking, it is a start.

    1. Also, I really like ur way of describing race in Jamaica, sums it up pretty well and demonstrates once again that the concept of a race is an entirely man made story and not actually real. As for the violence and stuff, the only way we r gnna ever change that is by fixing communities in terms of access 2 education, employment and so forth. Where there r hungry ppl, there will always b crime…How 2 do that is another story….depressing sometimes…i’m gone but i enjoyed reading this 🙂

      1. Mona, I think you hit the nail on the head! Education is indeed one of our biggest avenues through which we may effect change. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. I look forward to any additional feedback you may have on this or other posts.

    2. Mona, thank you for reading and providing valuable feedback. With regards to the middle class, I attempted to demonstrate just how stark the differences are between Jamaica’s rich and poor. I firmly believe that many of our “middle class” society are living a paycheck away from poverty. I do concede however that we are fortunate enough to not know the realities of stark poverty, most of which may be evident within our inner city communities.

      I am humbled that my commentary has enabled each of us to come to the table and share our ideas about making Jamaica a better place. I sincerely value your time and contribution!

      1. No prob. and it is not just a Jamaican problem, its a global problem.The middle class in the US is also being squeezed and living a few paychecks away from poverty cause the greedy ppl who actually control the entire market r constantly taking away from the rest of us. Have u seen the Life and Debt documentary? A past professor of mine who studies the economy even believes the only reason there is still an American middle class is because of credit cards and bank loans but ppl r far more in-debt that not. I know we r obviously in a lot more trouble than the US but i just wonder what will become of us all 50 yrs from now if the US comes crashing down 2…u know like where will any1 go then

  6. Dimitri, this is the TRUTH! I couldn’t have said it better myself. While we don’t have the answers like you said, if we each pledge to be true citizens of our country then we can bring about the change we desire. It is so funny that only an hour ago I was thinking about how I can help play my part in making a change. Instantly I started to recite our national pledge. I was pleased to see that you also recited this in your blog. Kudos! Let’s fight for change.

    1. Wayne, thanks for taking the time to read and contribute to the article! Our pledge truly has a deep meaning and commitment. Writing the article took a lot from me emotionally. I hurt for my country and many times I feel that there is so much to do and I have not started to put a dent in the areas that need our greatest effort.

      I firmly believe though that Jamaica may be on the verge of change. I see many of our fellow citizens who seem ready and willing to start making the tough decisions needed to place Jamaica back on track.

      1. I definitely think the time is now. I am happy to see so many people responding positively. We are the agents of change. We will overcome.

  7. Dimitri great article..my heart also breaks for my country. I am so tired of all the killings that is taking place in Jamaica. Lets stand together and make a change. I do believe that change can come about if we stand together and fight for what we want. I stand with you!

    1. Claudette, I completely appreciate your feedback and thank you for taking a stand with me. Together, as a people, we will make Jamaica a better place. The work starts now.

    2. Dimitri, I have been reading through the responses to your article. And I have to say I left Jamaica 23 years ago and though I do not go to Jamaica very often, not much has changed since I left. I am sure we would all like to see change, but as one person responded, the crime and poverty is not only in Jamaica, but elsewhere. What is however different from the US, is the way people will look the other way if you can give them something, even it means doing harm to someone or breaking the law in other way. And how easy it is for even the people that are there to uphold the law can be corrupted. What is happening now is not new, we need people who have left the island and can afford to get involved. Its ok to say we would like to see change, but getting it done is another matter. How do we begin.

  8. I agree with everything you said here. It pains my heart but I agree. Spent a total of six months on and off in Jamaica for 2013…oh gosh man. We have to do better as a people. I wrote my article in October…it’s right here in my blog as well. I call it “Jamaica-E Class & Pushcart.

    Seem like we were talking about the same things in different ways. What I saw happen to a seven year old girl last week in Coronation Market made me sick to my stomach. I got involved yes…never worried about my safety. Now she’s left there…unprotected. I couldn’t take her to Miami with me. No sah……too much. Mi gawn…..

    Bless up Dimitri…

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I did go to your blog and read your article. I submitted my response in your comment feed. They say great minds think alike, and I am glad to know that you saw the same disparity. The change starts with us, and I am confident that Jamaica’s best days are still to come. I look forward to continued dialog.

  9. Nice piece Dimitri. I don’t know how old you are. That can help in understanding where you are coming from. I take the liberty to assume your high school experience was in the 90’s 0r beyond. Jamiaca had a large and growing middle class supported in numbers by a large amount of foriegners who set up businesses in Jamaica. That class was largely decimated and the ranks left behind who stepped up the ladder to fill that void did so through money but not middle class values. Many were merchants of one form or another and customs officers and politicians. Then the ‘owning’ of politicians became the only game in town as has remained so to this day. The filthy rich are the biggest donors to the parties and that is why the fight is on against campaign finance reform. They simple do not want their names and amounts made public. And guess what? They are winning. Only public pressure to demand this transparency can help. The filthy rich are so powerful and influential that theycan actually conspire to raid the country through a ponzi scheme of their own making because their power assures them freedonm from prosecution. There can be no change in Jamaica through the call for unity. The call for unity is a redundant exercise generally. The mark of a sustainable advance in a country’s development is order and the obeying of clear rules based on equality. The only test that such a system is truly operative is via CONVICTIONS and trems of IMPRISONMENT for those who fly foul of the rules. To seek unity with any grouping that contains the oppressor himself is certain failure. The oppressor must be removed to imprisonment regardless of colour, class, creed or any past charitable works used mainly to create an aura of goodness that was designed to decieve the masses.

  10. now this is it its very simple put people to work . if u kill some one . u steal . u rape u rob u get caught you serve time in prison also the law force u to work you till the soil in prison . u are force to grow yam . ginger. cane . food stuff on a whole to export and to sell locally. when ur time is up from prison u r force to go to night class to learn a skill . if u are from a inner city area they the law relocate u to a different town , government must rebuild these soo call zinch fence garrison island wide tear them down no more zinch fence espacially in kingston jamaica. all night noise must stop at say 12 oclock each night . no explicit and vulgar songs at the dance hall or sting or at a house party put all don man to work . no more hand out and buying of votes . the green t shirt and red t shirt take them off ur backs god not going to come down and hel,the jamaican masses have to do it and we can . we av to change these old school politians we need young minds male and female to lead these 2 tribalistic parties time for these old dead donkeys to walk away if not the jamaican life style will be in a third world state all the time.

  11. A very thoughtful and insightful narrative of the current state of the country. You have offered practical solutions for improving the country but, I for one remain deeply skeptical regarding better nation to come. Corruption in all sectors particularly the political sector is far too entrenched at this point for me to expect anything different. Jamaica needs a revolution.

  12. Wow this is amazing. But its not enough to just be in awe at a writers penmanship. We need change and i thank you for the inspiration. I too hope that i can be a change for my country.

  13. I too am sad about what is happening in my country Jamaica and I do not have the solution. I do agree however that Education is the only way. We have a currently have culture that glorifies “badmanism” and womanizing. Our education system must embrace more of a social competent, where kid or not just taught to read and write but also how to operate as a valuable member of society.

    I so believe that we can change, but I also believe that it will take our government to put Jamaica and Jamaican before party and self. I believe the majority of Jamaicans are hardworking people simply looking for a chance for their self and their children and that if the systems are in place to provide them with that chance, we will see change.

    I am praying for Jamaica.

  14. The solutions to Jamaica’s problem are much simpler than you think. It begins with law and order followed by implementation and follow up. There are so many bright people in Jamaica who understand the principles of accounting, auditing and engineering and yet the country is filled with unregulated development and illegal enrichment.

    We need to do the hard work of tabulating every citizen’s assets, assessing and collecting taxes fairly until Jamaica gets a culture that says “nothing under the sun is free.” Then and only then will folks understand the need to work hard to get what they want, spend wisely, save for a rainy day and think about the financial consequences of their actions (children are not cheap and the courts can ruin a fellow who will be made to pay for the upkeep of his children.)

    As for crime and violence, the people who are not perpetuating it need to declare war on the people who are perpetuating it. Understand that you have the moral authority ( I am assuming here that the good people outnumber the “wutless” people). You can only be king in your own country, therefore you have to make the country fit for a king! Don’t allow anyone to make you live in fear (or move to somewhere else where you cannot be king!)

    Law enforcement should be populated by thinkers and they must use technology. Their remuneration should be based on results. The police force should be something that people aspire to and not a profession of last resort. In that way crimes will be solved and people will be punished and we must make the punishment tough enough to serve as deterrent.

    I am sure that if we can show the world that we have the security issue under control and that our workforce is disciplined we will attract serious investors.
    The energy bill is like a bogeyman under our bed but Jamaicans are used to “tun hand and make fashion”

    And yes! The dance hall culture must be made to observe the basic rules of decency. I love my dance hall music but I am tired of hearing about “killing people” and ” batty man” Over the past fifteen years the standard of behavior has deteriorated so badly that I find myself ashamed of my countrymen and the music is exacerbating the situation!

    Anyway sir, this is your article and though I agree with your arguments, I must say that action is needed by our leaders.. Not just observations from the citizenry…

    Maybe we don’t need politicians who are afraid to act because they might lose their political power…. Maybe we need some other kind of system…. Just a thought!

    1. Ian I believe every word you said to be true, but how do we empower the people to act. People have to be willing to take a unified front and fight for our little island. Sometimes living abroad you realize that you don’t have to put up with how things are in Jamaica..

  15. Hi Dimitri,
    It’s 5:02 a.m. and I stumbled on your blog. You echo the sentiments I have been sharing for possibly the longest time and I am happy to see and hear the passion in your narrative. I have been discussing a range of topics including the failure of Jamaicans to assert themselves as active participants in our future. Unfortunately we are where we are because of the stranglehold our partisan politics has had since independence and a set of dishonest leaders who have raped our country of its resources. I am interested in pursuing actionable courses to begin the slow turn around of our social, economic and political misfortunes. But I find that as Jamaicans our interest do not always coincide and no one wants to push against the status quo. I did an interview with a window washer which was quite revealing and I intend to have more conversations with them. People who can, need to do something instead of playing dead. If we do not we will eventually become a statistic. Thanks for reminding me of what needs to be done.

  16. Brother Dimitri , your insightful and deeply felt comments is well worded and I think has spark a much needed conversation on what we can as Jamaicans do together , to restore civility , tolerance , humanity , decency , and peace to our beloved Jamaica . I applaud you on your courage to speak out , however your positive critique would have been best serve had you offer some solution on how we could begin to fix the ills , plaguing our Island . The politicians and the religious community will not change the system seeing they are the beneficiary , what is needed is the uprooting of the current political system and redirecting our passion to a more secular society . Our Jamaica is arguably the most religious country in the world , with all the prayers being prayed and the countless churches throughout the Island , we are still mired in an endless state of fear and hopelessness . Seeing our men / women are broken and will need a change of attitude , I would suggest it is time to focus on the education of our children , herein lies our future and hopes for a better Jamaica . We cannot and should not embrace apathy or silence in efforts to make our Jamaica a safer place to live , we have the talent , the resources , and I suspect the courage to make a stand and fight for our Jamaica .. As much as Black is beautiful , we need the green and the yellow to be complete , OUT OF MANY WE ARE ONE . I will always LOVE JAMAICA despite all its problems and I am ready to join the fight for a new JAMAICA…one love .

  17. What we do can do NOW is demand that the government call for a state of emergency; then keep it in place until they stem the mindless bloodshed. Then we can put strategies in place to tackle the more complex socio-economic issues such as poverty etc etc..

  18. You hit the nail on the head. Well written article, I live abroad and would love to call Jamaica home but the injustices and corruption frightens me.

  19. When I read this I see an article coming from the heart and I commend you Dimitri for being true in telling of your experiences in Jamaica. You make a lot of general comments and I don’t think you speak for the entire Jamaica although what you said is a reality in Jamaica. Why I say this is because there are persons living here who have never experienced what you’ve experienced and never been where you have been. I have to say though, that many people who live here don’t care what happens to people living in other parts until they are affected in the same way. That reality is changing because crime is migrating into many other places. We have to care more about each other and I am glad you mention the pledge because If we truly do what the pledge says then we can see a better tomorrow for Jamaica.

  20. When the sun set we are all in what!? …………When you people are overseas this is all you can do? Long live Jamaica – PARADISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    1. What is that response/comment supposed to mean, Patrick? Should I assume you currently live in JA? There’s a saying that goes (as I paraphrase), If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out as it feel the heat. But if you put the frog in the cold water, then set it to boil, it will sit in it until it dead.

      Sometimes, only when you step away from a situation you can really see it for what it is.

  21. I feel every word you’ve written and the emotions expressed. My heart aches with the erosion, on many levels, of the Jamaica-land I love. I am willing and able to do my part to lift up Jamaica and it’s citizens.

  22. Very nice blog entry. What are your plans going forward? You have a decent number of shares and like. Will this blog post just be forgotten like so many others before it? Are do you plan to act on the issue

  23. Great Article. I don’t live in Jamaica right now but will be coming back to my land of birth in a few years.Education is key for success. We need leadership in Gov’t.

  24. A powerful blog post that is very moving.Thank you for sharing this, if only our “leaders” and citizens were paying attention and understood their role in uplifting Jamaica.

  25. THIS MAY SIMPLE IN COMPARISON TO THIS ARTICLE BUT NON THE LESS – I live in a Jamaica where there is not only Uptown and Down Town (Jamaica has parishes and Jamaica is not Kingston). A place where a child left on the street was told by her grade 2 teacher ” You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose” Now that purpose is to tell and show children that they are the Stars of Hope and they have the ability to succeed within. They are doing that and the CHANGE HAS BEGUN. FOR 1 WILL CHASE A THOUSAND AND 2 WILL PUT TEN THOUSAND TO FLIGHT!! But do we all want this formula!! I AM JAMAICAN!

  26. As a professional who grew up in the ghettos of Kingston and now living in the USA, I strived to be where I am (soon to become a Ph.D. scholar), so I laud your comments. I experienced many of the things you mentioned including the gunshots at nights while studying for my high school exams. Thanks for bringing this to light Dimitri. I would stand with you to help our country in whatever way possible my fellow countryman. I live in New York and you can contact me on Facebook at the name shown with the pic.

  27. Thank you for this article. I can relate to every word. My sentiments exact. I am scared and I feel hopeless. It feels good to see that someone is taking a stand and I will join. This has to stop but we can’t do it alone.

  28. the problems in Jamaica are longstanding and endemic. We are an indisciplined society and that is the root of our problems. We claim religion but have no grasp of it. We have a proud history that we disregard. We have all the resources of greatness, but have allowed petty difference to divide us. I love Jamaica and want to see her succeed, but the structures that need changing are not the physical, it is the mental. We need to discard the fake religiosity and wake up to the facts and be disciplined in attacking them. How we do that is not clear to me. But I am glad that others more skilled are examing the situation. Thanks for the needed words.

  29. Revolutions have begun with much less fervor. May this be the start of the struggle for a better day in JA!

  30. Very thoughtful post Dimitri. I have always thought that our greatest failure is the quality of the followership.

  31. I have been down your road amigo. You must come to terms with the reality that all we can do is make a tiny difference compared to the negative impact our leaders have on us. I have been to political meetings on both sides to try and help this country, and realized quickly these people are only here too stuff their pockets and you can’t go up against them, the corruption goes from the bottom to the very top. So I stay here, run a small business, provide employment to a few decent hard-working Jamaicans, give to charity and raise my child to be another decent hard-working Jamaican. It is all I can do, there is no solution, our country us being dragged to hell by evil greedy people but I will stay as long as I can. I am still happy here at home.

    1. Cbj…..there is more you and I can do. Things will never change if we continue to accept them as they are. The solution I believe is outside the present system, the present system is too corrupt.

  32. Well said Dimtri. Jamaica seriously NEEDS citizens that TRULY care about her well-being. From rich to poor; it appears that all have lost focus n there main focua is on $$…thus they do whatever to get it. Like u said, we r all to b blamed…because for the most part we talk, but leave the action hidden.

    It brought tears to my eyes reading ur blog. I so lovey country n people, that it literally pains my heart to see the state we have allow to carpet the landscape. Nonetheless, we who CARE and want to see actual change, must never give up and educate another individual at ever chance we get.

    Bless n continue your work

  33. I do believe that change starts from within by each and every individual. It is great that you recognise the problem now to seek change is also a great thing but the question is how Jamaica can be better when the persons or individuals who are in the position to create change are the ones who are contributing to the problems.

  34. As a Canadian who is of Jamaican ethnicity, I have to say that the one main thing that Jamaicans need to do, is rid themselves of all forms of dogmatic mentality, and social repression. These are the root causes of the many problems that are plaguing Jamaica today, along with poverty. I have not been to Jamaica in 15 years, I will be visiting there in January 2014 to see my mother who just moved there for her retirement. I hope and pray that the Lord God will keep her safe. No she is not living in Kingston, but I will tell you that the gun violence and other crimes that occur in Jamaica can also happen anywhere in Jamaica, even in a tourist town. Jamaica is a small place and gun violence and crime can easily spread easily, because getting around Jamaica does not take a lot of duration. But when I sit on the beaches on the north coast, I will not stop thinking about the social problems that are effecting Jamaica. So all I can say is Happy New Year and I will see you in 2014 Jamaica.

  35. Dimitri, Congratulations on a well-written article. However your amplification of crime in Jamaica is unjustifiable. The fear you describe may of course be a reality in some sections of the country as it is in countries all over the world. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We all have to be careful. In reality, Jamaica is one of the finest countries in the world. There is peaceful living and cooperation in numerous sections of the country. You just have to see the cohesion that exists when Jamaicans are performing in an international event. The problem now is lack of employment opportunities for many young people and in many cases older people. Today’s modern world requires households to have up-to-date security systems but only a minority can afford such luxury. Don’t write off Jamaica it is one of the safest and friendliest countries for tourists and natives. Spending time in some communities and in the all inclusive hotels is like paradise.

    1. He was specific in mentioning exactly where the disgust was taking place. We know it’s not all of jamaica that is experincing what He’s talking about….but 70% of it. For sure the majority.

  36. Dimitri, I must thank you for doing this. If you were to ask many children if they want to stay here after they complete school, they would say they want to go foreign. They have fallen out of love with the country as they are living in fear. I hope this will be an eye opener for each one of us as Jamaicans, to take a stand for our country, the place we call or once called home.

  37. True Jamaica Land “some a we still” Love. Just like any other country in the world they have their crime and violence and other political issues. We could all be pointing our fingers at them and criticising them but for me that is not the way forward. The way forward is that all these countries realise their problems and actively and constantly try to find a solution for the better ment of the country with the people to make their country and paradise that it once was or has the potential to become. So for all those who still believe that Jamaica still is a paradise that we preserve and contribute in a positive way both politically and socially and economically by eradicating the negative elements individually and collectively as a people for the better ment of the country.Jamaica Land We Love. Naaw sell out.

  38. Excellent article. I’m sure echoing thousands of people’s feelings.
    Definitely starts with the politicians and the people they support and the people that support those same politicians.

  39. “Jamaica Is No Paradise”… Where is? And who said it was? Who in their right mind would believe that anywhere on this planet inhabited by Human beings was a Paradise? Really now!!!

  40. “No more uptown downtown,we all live together in a Reggae jamdown”

    Michigan and Smily

    Good day Mr. Lyon
    Very well written column . Your testament to being immune to the plight of the “sufferahs” is commendable. Whilst not being born in Jamaica I have lived in Jamaica off and on for over 30 years.

    The class divisions and near caste system deployed in the mindset of every Jamaican is a thing that will take generations to erase. I do think you have made many generalizations of downtown people in some of your remarks.

    Not every man in the ghetto goes out and fathers multiple children. Nor does every mother chose clothes over books. By these generalizations you actually are using words instead of bullets to maim the spirit of those in tenement yards.

    I notice that you have omitted that many “uptown ” men have multiple women. You omit that uptown Jamaicans tend to be the more materialistic minded folks and accept persons into their circle based primarily on a number of prerequisites;

    High School
    Family relations
    Skin colour

    I say these things to you as a fellow Caribbean national and as someone who has lived uptown. I was standing outside of my own gate when a corolla pulls up and 2 occupants jumped out and began to question me as to what was I doing there and so on.

    I had to walk back into my own house to prove to these police officers that a “dark Skinned” man can afford to live uptown.

    So I applaud your spirit. But the struggle is not going to be addressed focusing on the downtown sufferahs.

    1. You had me until you started doling out advise to inner-city folks about their perceived reproductive and other habits without seeking to understand their challenges and circumstances. Good to see an uptowner speaking out; hopefully you will refocus on social prejudice where you could perhaps make the best impact. ALL of Jamaica’s problems originate “uptown”.

  41. Jamaica is missing only two things: leadership and a plan. Otherwise it is paradise. Great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

    1. I agree with your thoughts Fred Burnett. God made the Island a PARADISE, It is corrupt by the actions of many. I am a Jamaica national who has hope for positive transformation of the country. I began a web page “Jamaica a spiritual experience” with the hope others join forces until it takes on a force to create the change. I will take a supernatural act of GOD, all things are possible with Christ.

      1. Andrea I really think you have said a mouth full here! The problem as always been Spiritual and there is no other answer!! I don’t care who recommends it!! Jamaica nor anywhere else in this World is not a paradise!! (Luke 23:39-43) Anyone who trys to make it such, will simply fail! Is not a paradise and never will be, because of SIN!! However, God as provided a gift so paradise can be gain when He create the new Heaven and earth!!.. ( Rev.21:1-27) If we want to be a part of the plan, JESUS is our way out of our present state!! We can try and change what is inevitable, but base on the Word of God its a waste of time JESUS IS TILL THE ANSWER FOR THE WORLD TODAY!!! Its time for us to REPENT and believe the Gispel so we all can live a Godly live that will qualify us for the true paradise of God!!! (Rev. 2:7)

  42. Your article is fantastic but you omitted 2 very important subjects – kids and animals. They are very much mistreated – this needs to be corrected for Jamaica to be a blessed country to all. Mistreated kids grow up to be confused adults. Look into the eyes of the animals and you will see their sadness.

  43. Nice blog and nice gesture. But Jamaica cannot be fixed and till hope and opportunities been given back to everyone there. I’m doing some business in the island and somebody owed me money and just styling me as we would say, So i discuss it with a policeman and his respond was, Hire some badman or police to defend you thing because it don’t make any sense you take him to court its too slow. No body including the police have faith in the system, This make me feel really hopeless,

  44. I have read your article and you are currently at a place were I was eight years ago. I saw my country heading in the wrong direction, what I could have done as many of us young educated professional did, migrate, write to the editor, talk to the talk show host or just stay in my living room and talk to my friends, no what I did was I got so involved in the process, of governance. By getting active with a political party of my choice. Yes not everyone can get involved as how I did, but at least exercise your right to vote, failure to do so, what you are doing is adding to the problem, you are complaining but still not getting involved and leaving the governance of you country and at large your life, to people that are not competent to make decisions for you.

    I might add that I am in agreement with some of what you have said, however, Jamaica do have a large middle class, many are still living pay check to pay check, however, they have acquired their own home and cars, that is a start. At times as well, I feel very scared even in my own country I must add not all the time.

    I must also add that in every field of Jamaica you have corrupt people, you work with corrupt people as school principals, matron in hospitals, superintendent of police, bank managers, you name the field, but what are you saying that you will not work with them?

    So why we know that they are corrupted politicians and we are going to stay away from the system, so what are we going to do just leave it up to them to great havoc in our system, or are we going to take it back from them? We need to fight for what is ours. We are too hypocritical as a society and we need to stop it.

    Also I am of the believe now that a man is free to declare his political views without any fear, the entire Jamaica knows that I am strong supporter of the Jamaica Labour Party, and I have no qualms in declaring that. Not everyone can support the JLP, although I would love that. All I am asking especially educated people is to get involve in the system of governance, and start today, if you are interested in getting involved email me at drobmiller@gmail.com.

    Robert Big Rob Miller

  45. The honesty and passion is really felt.You are a true leader and I applaud you for believing in yourself to take a stand. I celebrate your integrity and geniuness.keep on keeping on.

  46. Well said as a Jamaican some of us only stand back and do nothing it is time we do something for a change we can come together and do the right thing .peace my brother.

  47. Very well said dude now if only we can find about 2 million more Jamaicans, IN Jamaica who thinks like u, Jamalca’s potential would become limitless. Anyway, things have to start some place so Kudos to u for stepping out frontz

  48. What a wonderfully written article! Exploring many factors and demonstrating a good awareness of the ongoing problems in Jamaica. All be it painful and resented by some it has aroused insightful thoughts and hopefully fruitful actions. I would just like to thank you.

  49. Dimitri. Your article here is well penned. But you have only pointed out the ills of the country and not made reference to the solutions, the way forward, the timeline to carry them out and the expected outcomes with measurable indexes. Please, as a patriotic Jamaican, share with us how you vision the betterment of our nation. Don’t be afraid to write them to the Gleaner or Observer so the nation can read. Don’t be afraid to write to the Ministers or the PM what your opinions are as to improving the livelihood of Jamaican people. Be like Trinidad’s Eric Williams or a Marcus Garvey, be a visionary beyond your own lifetime.

  50. Dimitri you are the kind of person who should be Prime Minister. Everything you stated is true. The sad reality is these individuals relocate to foreign countries and still behave that way. I will forever embrace my country of birth but don’t believe I can ever live there again. Together we can bring back the Jamaica that once was.

  51. I truly felt sad when I read the facts abt what is happening on ur island .May god bless you my son ! I which the politicians had the brain that you have and think the way you do . I which for you all d best

  52. Dimitri I salute u and stand by u. I thought everyone was living in darkness, but u see the light. I’m positive that if each person takes action and spread the message we will have a better Jamaica for generations to come.

  53. You are correct in your writings, As the famous quote states “The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for the good men to do nothing”, but what can we learn from other nations, countries who have been and presently going through similar growing pains for example New York City, Columbia (SA), Mexico, Great Britain etc.
    The point I am trying to make it is not a Jamaican phenomenon but the human epidemic found where-ever humans gather. It is more pronounced in Jamaica because of our relative size and history.
    There is my solution, since these symptoms spring for human misdeeds the only catalysis for change needs to be implemented and lived daily, This is both a magnificent and simple answer, it is a relationship with the Lord Christ Jesus Savior of the Human Race (not religion).
    I know the idea might be laughed at, scorned, rebutted etc. but from the genesis of human time the epidemic has grown, humans by ourselves have never been able to totally eradicate the epidemic, if anyone have a better solution put it on the table?

  54. Dimitri, many thanks my young brother brother for pointing what should be the obvious to our fellow country men and women: we need to change the course we are on and that this begins with each and every one of us taking the steps to right this ship. For too long we have sat passively on the sidelines thinking and saying that that’s the other man’s problem, not ours.
    Having moved to the US as a kid (and would gladly move back to the Rock), I and many Jamaicans that I know, would gladly move back to our home to help rebuild our street, communities and nation one block at at time.
    Politically, our leaders need to lead and stop being selfish….all in it for their personal gains and not in it to uplift the people they serve.
    I think that like me, you pray that Jamaicans will open their eyes and realize that they have the power to change this.
    Many thanks brother, you ARE a true Jamaican.

    1. Danny, thanks for the feedback and compliment. I appreciate it more than you know. I know deep down we have an amazing love for our island home, and I firmly believe that we will see a better day in Jamaica. I just hope it is sooner than later.

  55. Reblogged this on Jamaican Journal and commented:
    Please read this piece all the way through. I like it because it does not place the blame on any one segment of Jamaican society, which is the norm. Usually, politicians and the poor (and sometimes dancehall artists) are the common culprits when people want to blame someone for Jamaica’s problems. This piece places the blame at the feet of everyone who lives there now, who has lived there and who produces children there. Personal responsibility and awareness that one is part of a society, the author seems to be pointing to as a starting point to address the nation’s problems.

    1. Kate I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and reposting it on Jamaica Journal. I appreciate that you saw the positive in what I was trying to do through my article. Some people have read it and saw it as an elitist viewpoint and analysis, which was never my intention. I appreciate that you saw it for what it was. Thanks again.

  56. I don’t know if you are aware but in this essay you have written, the word “Jamaica” could easily be replaced with “The Bahamas”. Our country is in the same free fall. Everything you have written applies to us as well. I identify with you being so-called “middle-class” and of mixed race, I experienced what you speak of. This past weekend, we had the first drive-by random shooting in our country. Eight people were shot, 4 people were killed. Innocent regular folks like you and me sitting in a park. This has left the nation in utter shock and I feel great trepidation for this new year….

    1. Marian, thanks for taking the time to read and provide feedback. I recently heard about the unfortunate incident that occurred recently in the Bahamas. I completely empathize with you and your country. It is always hard to come to terms with the reality of the world we live in.

  57. Good-day Dimitri,

    Your focus on the situation in Jamaica and bringing it to light is so important for the country we love. Back in the days when I lived in Jamaica I would never allow myself to be apart of any inequality or where others are treated unfairly. I remember very well going to a store to buy a car battery one day and there was line ahead of me and the Gentleman turn to me and said can he help me and I turn to him and said I was in line and I would rather wait my turn thanks.
    fe assume

  58. Unfortunately, corruption, selfishness and weakness have been so long and far ingrained in our psyche that it has now become a difficult task to remedy Jamaica’s dilemma. When the majority of us can wake up, grow some balls and hold our politicians / political parties accountable, stand against crime, espouse discipline, be uncompromising in our values, then and only then will we have a fighting chance against this scourge that is now threatening to further displace our social and economic stability.

    One of Jamaica’s problem is that we have too many ‘speakers’ and not enough ‘doers’. In addition, we cast a blind a eye to wrong-doers and wrong-doings, which gives permission to indiscipline, low morals, and an “anything goes” mentality. Did any of us well-thinking citizens really believe we would have gotten a different outcome?

  59. I have no words or idea where to begin after reading some of the bull shit you wrote but then I can’t blame you because you where born with that silver spoon in your mouth. Thanks for scaring people away from our country where a great amount of income comes from tourism. Yes, we have political problems but show me the country with out one, as to your little innuendo about being scared shitless that someone will kill you son that’s every where ;people get killed for dumb shit because the killer as mental issues. Leave it to dumbasses like you to say shit like that’s as you stand on the by line and watch. Let me point out that while you are off building another mans country he is nothing but happy to watch you use your mouth to tear down yours. Wait a second what the fuck do you know about Jamaica if you came to the states as a child…… “Having moved to the US as a kid (and would gladly move back to the Rock), I and many Jamaicans that I know, would gladly move back to our home to help rebuild our street, communities and nation one block at at time.” Let me stop because I am getting really pissed…….. Mr Dimitri if you want to do something constructive with your time sit with some paper and a pen and run the stats our country may have its problem but its not alone.

    1. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read the article and provide valuable feedback. I am even more humbled by the passion that you exert through the feedback you provided. While we may disagree in some aspects of the analysis, I am certain that we can both agree on the fact that we want what is best for Jamaica. Our experiences on the island may be vastly different but I have experience firsthand what the ramifications of the crime and violence are.

      It was not my attempt to use my article to scare visitors away from the island. In fact, in the past year I have brought groups to the island to show them the beauty that my island home had to offer. I’m a very patriotic Jamaican but I will never deny the issues which plague us. Thanks again for the feedback.

      1. Oh come on now Mr Lyon you said yourself you where born and raised uptown what kind of violence did you see? At least the uptown people have the cops in their pocket so you all are well protected in your fancy house and cars right?….That’s what people downtown think they know and see, but you and I know different. Uptown people think every person from the other side of the track are robbers ,killers, drug dealer you name it. Unfortunately I have been on both sides of the fence, I meant no disrespect but what’s happening in Jamaica happens in millions of other places, yes I would love for it all to go away but that’s easier said than done. I will try to control my temper and cursing but I get very protective much like a lioness would of her cubs. Most of the issues you wrote about are basic human nature no one wants to be at the bottom of the barrel everyone wants to be on top; to be able to give their families the best and they may not go about it the right way and it does reflect on the country but that’s the way the cookie crumble. What we all need to ask our self is how can I help my brother and in so doing help the progression of our country.

      2. A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? ” The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look

      3. I believe it is a generally held misconception that those residing uptown does not need additional security. Our police force is rather lacking in it’s response rate and therefore those uptown do feel the brunt of the crime spate in the island as well. Crime and violence has ramifications across the island.

        I appreciate you taking the time to indulge in constructive discourse on the matter. You are indeed correct that we all want what is best for our family. It is what drives us. And we indeed understand our world through the prisms of our own experience.

    2. I think you should shake the emotional cloak and the blinder that keep your head buried under the sand. Jamaicans without any assistance, have done a splendid job of keeping away tourists. Mr. Lyon is only trying to analyze and highlight our present situation – a situation that will never improve with the ostrich mentality (hiding one’s head in the sand) that you dmonstrate. I am a Jamaican, grew up here and still live here. However, the type of life, characterized by safety, justice and fairness that I and my parents envisaged, is a fleeting dream. It is indeed interesting how well we can go into battle armed with our ‘pens’ yet remain so ignorant and removed from reality.

  60. Well written, well read article. I have experienced much of what you have described. I too, feel helpless as there is so much that I would like to do but I have not an ounce of inkling of where to start. There is so much that I would like to say in this comment, but my thoughts are scrambled and fueled with rage. But the one issue that overwhelms me, is the way we treat each other (more privileged, more educated vs less privileged, less educated). I am guilty of this and in hindsight regret every moment. Because, while not privileged, I was more educated so I exuded the ‘better than you’ aura. However, with maturity and growing compassion, I try to correct that every day. For me, that is a start.

  61. Hey there Dimitri. I am from Jamaica and I live in Anguilla now. I am using my wife’s WordPress because I was already logged in. I do agree with everything you say and we are seeing it all over the Caribbean and not just in Jamaica. It’s like looking at the flood rising behind the floodgate yet we sit back and say ‘that is not my job’ or ‘that is not my responsibility’ but curse everyone we deem responsible. When the waters reach our door we become frightful and feel we need to do something. It is good a see someone taking a step for what is right. You may be persecuted for doing so. However, many a great people died for doing what is right and some like Martin Luther King Jr and Ghandi continue to live on because they stood up for that ideal. Like I said we live in Anguilla and we volunteer our time to children and teenagers. Our blog, MyAnguillaExperience.com, shows the goodness that Anguilla has to offer instead of pointing fingers and showing the negative. Helps those that need guidance, education or anything. Help when and where you can. You never know who could change because of it.
    Keep fighting positive change man.


  62. I am and will always be a Jamaican although I now live in The UK ,I visit Jamaica at least once a year ,And I would love to see the Jamaica that I was born and grew up in ,Although that was in 1955 ,
    Keep up the good work mate and al the best ,

    1. Greetings Sir, I went through the school system up to ’83 and saw signs of the lack of discipline of lower school students towards prefects and upper school students. As you mentioned in your actions to do nothing, ticking time bomb or fruit which has ripened and gone off. With respect for Women the Go Go club is now on the streets. The dejays are responsible for grooming our people have poisoned the hearts and minds of the nation . Time is up. Jesus is coming soon…. Time to repent of your sins and get ready for his return.

  63. This is a well written, brutally honest article, and I wish most of us had the guts to expose Jamaica for what’s going on there and to take a stance against it. My father was gunned down at a stop light in rural Kingston, over ten years ago, so I too have experienced this uncontrolled violence that plagues our country. As a Jamaican living abroad, I would love to help in any way possible.

  64. I have read this piece and do agree that all the issues that you have outlined are bringing the island down, but how can this be changed? Bob Marley has echoed all these issues throughout time repeatedly but not one has listened; so did Marcus Garvey. We need modern leaders on the island to stand up and make things right; and like you said in your writings, taking a stand may cause you to loose your life. The governance of the island is rooted in so much corruption and injustice its stinks.
    I think this is because the citizens of Jamaica, whether in the ghettos or the upper crust of Jamaican society are just not patriotic enough to live and serve the best interest for their country. Until these people know how to protect and be their brothers keeper, there will always be two Jamaica. One of violence (including starvation, shante housing, street dances and sewage on there streets) Downtown. Then uptown which is separated by the invisible iron curtain. However, as you have seen during your time is school, that this is often the common ground where both society will eventually collide in some way or another. Which leads to culture shock and anger from both sides. I remember when I was in high school kids would often target and pray on the “uptown kids” because they had money or had better things than they did. Or they will also befriended them because of the perks that came with saying that “I know ……………..”.

    Personally I think the island needs to be lock down from the influences of outside forces, especially American and Trinidad. Since it seems as if pretty soon there will be a set of people call Jamaicans who will live on a island called Jamaica that is owned by the rest of the world. Everything in Jamaica is for sale, even the people and so they continue to sell themselves out for votes and foreign ideas every day.

    We need a Jamaica where everyone should serve in the military after high school, to know how to protect and serve their own. Then education for all with equal opportunities. Singapore would be a great blue print that Jamaica can follow to restore order and patriotic governance to the land, then just maybe the gold and green and be returned to the flag.

  65. Your article was well written Dimitri. Your efforts are well received. IMO. No matter what country you reside there will always be the haves and the have nots..I think jamaica’s issue is not just with classism and socio-economic problems but In my opinion rest wih peoples lack of scruples, morals and lack of education. As long as people are willing to be bought and continue to accept monies for crimes against the innocent, smuggle drugs and guns in the country and do contracts for political figures and special privileges and ranking. etc. crime will persist. People see dollars signs. What they don’t see or rather choose to ignore is how their selfish ways of thinking hurt and impact the majority and the stability of the country and fellow Jamaicans home and abroad who continue to leave taking their skills to other places.

    1. PRAY TELL which country does not have the same problems?(shaking my head) it called human nature there is very little that can be done to fix the masses unless one starts with themselves

  66. As a ‘white’Jamaican who left Jamaica many, many years ago and now return to enjoy the beaches and the warmth of the Jamaican people, I was in tears as I read your blog. Like most Jamaicans who live ‘abroad’ we miss and love Jamaica but realize that we cannot return there because of the violence. When I left Jamaica we were still British subjects, and I enjoyed the security of a British passport. Although much of what you said was true even then, the violence was not nearly as bad and Jamaica was starting to shake off the disparity between lighter skinned Jamaicans and their darker skinned compatriots. I accepted the many injusticies as the norm (That’s the way it was) and even carried some of the old ways with me to my new home in Canada. My Dad was a Bustamante’s labor party member and so was I even though I did not understand the difference between the two parties. When Michael Manley won as prime minister, I was already in Canada and I fully expected a blood bath for in my opinion he was not as smart as his dad Norman. To my surprise and to Michael’s credit it did not happen, but he, again in my oppinion, said and did some dumb things that drove many Jamaicans away with their money. Today the middle class in the U.S. and Canada are shrinking because the multi billionairs and multi national corporations are moving their factories and business’ to third world countries to exploit their cheap labor. They are not content to just make a profit, they want more and more…CEO’s salaries are outrageous and they give themselves million dollar bonuses. Now because of that what ails Jamaica is starting to manifest itself in many countries. Jobs!!! Without jobs there is no hope. Most people want to have a job to support their familly and to have self esteem and to have money to buy the essentias and luxuries of life. I saw a documentary on Trench Town some years ago which brought out the hopelessness of people, not ony without jobs, but no prospect of ever having one. My parents used to say to us as kids, “The devil finds work for idle hands” To end my epistle…the perfect recipe for violence is the lack of education, poverty and hopelessness. I sincerely hope that you would consider entering politics and some day be Jamaica’s Prime Minister. Billy G

  67. I hear your cry dimitri… I feel your pain but at that point i make reference to another Jamaican who said half the story is not being told. There is class struggles, race struggles, and loads of isms skisms all over the world. It is simply the people in charge. The people that run Jamaica. None of those people live downtown…. There are light skinned blacks that live downtown and the areas connected as well as all over the island. As the man that posted ahead of me said, nuff of you will see Jamaica and wont be able to live there soon. But i will pose my thoughts to you dimitri. Reggea music is bigger than Jamaica even though it was born in Jamaica. Rastafarism is bigger than Jamaica even though it is credited to Jamaica. Usain Bolt is bigger than Jamaica even though he reps for Jamaica. The Jamaican Flag is bigger than Jamaica. Jamaica is even bigger than Jamaica. Jamaica is a brand name and most Jamaicans have not recognised what Jamaica really is… Jamaica is passed being a paradise. Jamaica is bigger than a paradise. There are enough Jamaican minds spread across the world to make Jamaica one of the most exciting places in the world. My analogy of Jamaica is the JFF. They have elections for President but the JFF is an autocracy. But dont get it twisted. Portia or whoever else becomes Prime Minister is not in the same position as Capt. Burrell. The Prime Minister will be like the third vice president, which means someone else runs Jamaica. No matter what crap happens to the football Team Capt. Burrell never takes the blame. It’s either a new coach or new players or something. And I will leave it there. Those who know hoe football is ran in Jamaica will tell you there is a lot of potential but those in charge lack vision. Or do they? Do those in power really lack vision or do they have other agendas?

  68. I believe that music is one of the most, if not the most, influential structure in Jamaica. Jamaica will change if the music changes. Once the artist stop degrading woman and preaching violence in their music, Jamaica will change. Some artist will make a conscious song detailing the hardships in Jamaica and how people should lift up their brothers and sisters and stop the violence then turn around and make another song preaching violence and materialism. If everyone on the island listened to Bob Marley as much as they listen to vybz kartel Jamaica would change. All this can be summed up by saying the social leaders of the country can change

    1. You’ve got a point my friend. Music can definately make a significant impact on the society of Jamaica as a whole. Along with that Jamaican’s need to start supporting their own industries and investing in new ones and new ventures. The more affluent should stop shopping abroad and buy Jamaican. Jamaica needs Jobs! Without jobs there is no hope.The government should also invest in the young, giving them the opportunity to learn the skills needed for this ‘brave new world’ we live in and to teach them to respect each other, male and female alike. Also all fathers should be made to support the children they father and men should pay stiff penalties for forcefull sex.(Rape) Billy G.

      1. When I was growing up there were companies like Kaiser Bauxite, Alcan, Alpart and people farm the land. I read that many years ago Jamaica was known for sugar cane and sugar. Why cant we have work programs, that put people to work farming the land. My grandparents were coffee and pimento farmers and those were the days when people worked the land. Why cant the government provide resources to farm for those unable to find jobs. Sometimes you have to be on the outside looking in to see what needs to be changed.

  69. I believe that music is one of the most, if not the most, influential structure in Jamaica. Jamaica will change if the music changes. Once the artist stop degrading woman and preaching violence in their music, Jamaica will change. Some artist will make a conscious song detailing the hardships in Jamaica and how people should lift up their brothers and sisters and stop the violence then turn around and make another song preaching violence and materialism. If everyone on the island listened to Bob Marley as much as they listen to vybz kartel Jamaica would change. All this can be summed up by saying if the popular music changes then the country can change. Power is in the hands of the masses. And since the masses are influenced heavily by the musicians, the musicians can actually help the country if they were to keep a straight and moral path.

  70. My fellow Jamaican, much of what is said is true but there is a lot that will need to be addressed properly if we really want to get to the bottom of this. Family is the core or every society. When we look in our history books there were never any good models of family or marriage for us to learn from, hence our society today.

    There is also much to give thanks for. I have a few suggestions: get into a very influential position so you can really make a change, start praying a lot (there is also a spiritual aspect to this which many persons fail to admit – our fight is really not against flesh and blood…), especially for our leaders; invest in the families, and our male youth. Also, consider the purpose of JA, look back in our anthem and pledge its there, keep trying bro.

    I will continue doing my part and I’ll try to remember to pray for you. You will need much wisdom and humility to be effective (this won’t come from just the books, get to know the man on the street, understand their pain). This is not a quick one bro, be wise, you will also need a support team.

  71. My fellow Jamaican, much of what is said is true but there is a lot that will need to be addressed properly if we really want to get to the bottom of this. Family is the core or every society. When we look in our history books there were never any good models of family or marriage for us to learn from, hence our society today.

    There is also much to give thanks for. I have a few suggestions: get into a very influential position so you can really make a change, start praying a lot (there is also a spiritual aspect to this which many persons fail to admit – our fight is really not against flesh and blood…), especially for our leaders; invest in the families, and our male youth. Also, consider the purpose of JA, look back in our anthem and pledge its there, keep trying bro.

    I will continue doing my part and I’ll try to remember to pray for you. You will need much wisdom and humility to be effective (this won’t come from just the books, get to know the man on the street, understand their pain). This is not a quick one bro, be wise, you will also need a support team.

  72. Wow this is probably how Mandela felt when he was young almost hopeless but we have to keep hope alive
    This Christmas I did a few small things like buying a Christmas tree locally buying pillows from a local pillow maker and getting my lab coats made here. We have to keep hope alive I know we don’t know how to solve this crime but maybe if we buy products from local craftsmen we can help provide money and maybe they will be less likely to steal . Just take small steps Mandela didn’t give up even though he faced a burka and impossible situation . We also have the fighting spirit of our Ancestors in on so let’s fight for Jamaica

  73. Very thought provoking my friend.I hear your cry and you are not alone. As a victim with scars to remind me of a time when I could have been among the statistics i have come to the realization that a large part of Jamaica’s problem rest with our system of justice.Crime i do not think we can eliminate,( minimize maybe with education and equal and available opportunities for all ) Crime is everywhere in the world but unlike Jamaica it is punishable no matter who you are.In Jamaica this is not the case and criminals are more protected than the victims by the police and politicians alike You have to be on the receiving end to understand the frustration of getting the police to respond to an act of criminality in Jamaica.Report the crime today, unless you are killed, there will be a hundred reasons why the police are unable to respond.Not all but many police are benefactors from the spoils.You cannot depend on the justice system either because it is controlled by corrupt politicians who in an effort to remain on power will knowingly protect and send away criminal elements to foreign land on privileged visas.Crime in New York City the place i now call home is much more than Jamaica but i am comforted in knowing that if i call 911 there will be swift response and if i’m killed it will not go unpunished because no one is above the law and everyone is subjected to same investigation.I recently learnt of the death at the hands of the police of a decent young man I taught at home.I knew him personally because his mom cared for my young sons when i was there so he was always in my home.From the time i was there he was targeted by a particular police who thought he was too ” boasty” By virtue of living in Seaview Gardens he was open to police scrutiny,harassment and detention.Never once was the police able to tell why he was being held.His mom had to lodge a complaint with the police high command about the harassment and eventually sent him to stay with relatives in the country.Well his mom died and he went back to Kingston to live with his other siblings. Needless to say his sister told me that the said police was able to orchestrate his killing, drove around with the body before dumping it at the morgue.Several attempts to get the police to investigate his killing has fallen on deaf ears.Never committed a crime in his young 20 odd years on this earth but paid the ultimate price because there is no justice in Jamaica if you are poor and the law does not protect all its citizens. Dimitri until Jamaica is governed by the same law for everyone,until there is limited power to politicians and the status quo,until the powers that be is held accountable for their crimes and immoral behaviour,until the sponsors of the Lady Saw and the Macka clash at sting realize that there is much more positive to our people that can be highlighted around the world.Until then, there is going to be an all black flag.In my humble opinion we need to start by cleaning up our corrupt government who is allowed to get away with “blue murder” because the voting populace is about party allegiance and nothing else.Continue to speak your truth my friend. I firmly believe “The pen is mightier than the sword.”


    Don’t be a part of the problem but a part or the solution. If one method don’t work, then try a new one.
    Let the spirit of love cover all jamaican.
    It is the first step towards the healing of the nation
    Open up your hearts and share the gift of love without hesitation.
    The spirit of love is within us all, it’s not prejudice you have it whether you’re rich and powerful or a hustler struggling to rise above your limitations.

    Let’s all unite and allow the spirit of love to shine bright in our country and improve its reputation.
    Lets all unite and have a spirit of love celebration.

    You will find the spirit of love no matter your location.
    Wether you’re in the urban cities or rural towns with lush vegetation.
    Into my heart the spirit of love has an open invitation.
    Talking about a genuine love, not an imitation.
    If you allow it, the spirit of love can help to improve any situation.
    Allow it to grow and spread throughout our population.
    Lets keep the spirit of love alive and pass it on from generation to generation.

    Let’s all unite and allow the spirit of love to shine bright in our country and improve its reputation.
    Lets all unite and have a spirit of love celebration.

    Copyright Nic@nde® Colm@n 2013

  75. I am in tears as I type these few words and cannot really put them together, but to say to Dimitri keep ” do right, do right, do right …. Burning Spears” and hope the politicians are listening and seriously try to restore OUR little god bless island, JAMAICA. I am so tourn-up and in tears, with not just what’s happening there but some of what we are exporting as life-style. I heart cry out fi di place, and the PEOPLE that mek me think a Jamaican songs like, ” Marley 400 years”, ” Bounty Killa if me hungry again u a go see mi 9″. The old lady, “Miss P” who passes away in ’02 GOD rest her soul left Jamaica because of 2 reasons: 1. She always a help people and I remember her packing herself and 6 children inna one room and giving the 2nd room to a lady with 3-4 children for about 2 weeks and also feed them. The little shop we had was next St. Patrick Primary. At 10 yo I really didn’t know what was going, but was OK with it, because MOM said so. However, the 2nd reason is what caught her off guard, when she let one party conducted there rallying at her expense giving them everything, except money. the following week she did the same for the other party thinking she was helping to let the PEOPLE of the area hear them and then choose who to vote for, Early in the 3rd week, she was confronted and was accused of taking sides. The tears a kinda ease and mi feel some relief like I just had some therapy. As a retired soldier, I MISS the place and the little trip in Sept. only mek me more home-sick and his trying to come down more often. Thank you Mr Lyons for this therapy and keep STRONG and well. “Jamaica, Jamaica …..imagine.. Briggy”

  76. Great piece Dimitri, our country needs more positive youth. We need to stand as one with love and respect for each other. When we all learn the true meaning of love and how powerful love is, then we will see improvement.

  77. Mr. Lyons, your analysis and commentary are ‘right on’. But, please tell me also the name of even one country in the world about which much of the same is not also true? Two Americas, for example? Genocide, civil war, etc. in other places? And so on. Not that the worldwide state of the human condition justifies or excuses what is going on in Jamaica., but, sadly, this cruelty and pervasive inhumanity is not exclusive to us.

    1. Excellent article Mr. Lyons! You have captured many of the ills and attitudes facing our great country Jamaica, with some of the most beautiful of people.God has been lavished with His many gifts in resources and beauty to Jamaica, Unfortunately, many of us do not know and/or appreciate it. All is not yet lost, each and everyone of us can do our best in making a meaningful contribution to restore the values and civility to a great nation that Norman W. Manley worked so honestly as a hero and statesman to establish.

  78. Hey D, dnt know if you remember me…we went to quality academics together. Came across ur article on a friends FB page. I must say, Well written all sad but so tru-I hope things back home will one day change for the better:-(

    1. Hey. Thanks for the feedback. I’m not able to see your name fully, so I can’t recall who you are specifically. I do remember my Quality days vividly. If you do see this, please feel free to tell me your name. I checked out your blog, those are some amazing creations! Keep up the good work.

  79. Dimitri: While I agree with most of your article, you forget to mention the thousands of LGBT Jamaicans that flee your country for fear of being killed, or remain in Jamaica as a marginalized member or anonymous member of society. One Love, One Heart.

    1. Education is the key here. Jamaicans understand love but they need to understand the full meaning of love. If a preacher had the guts to preach a sermon on the real meaning of love, maybe comparing it to the love of Christ who died for us all, maybe their eyes could be opened. Billy G.

  80. Dimitri: How can we as well thinking citizens hold the politicians (Living past and present) responsible for their actions. They are the ones soley responsible for the state Jamaica is in now. All the things you said are very true. At this moment I have ides but they will not be produced in jamaica. I am in the process of migrating. This country is very messed up in every way.
    The politicians think everything is ok and crime is localized. I too am guilty but how could we be a positive change without being called names or being killed.

  81. As a Jamaican, I love coming home but I hate the fear that imprisoned me while I am there. “All it take for bad to prevail is for good folks to sit and do nothing!” Can’t remember who said these words but they are so truthful where our beloved country is concern. The “good folks” have sat for too long doing nothing!!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback. There is no country in the world that has zero crime. However does that mean we should ignore the fact that Jamaica is listed in the top 5 of having the highest murder rate per capita in the world?

      If you are looking for a relatively safe place, try Switzerland. Their level of gun violence is .5 for every 100, 000 people.

      1. Mr. Lyon, I totally understand your article and do not believe it is over the top…I feel the same way as you do in many instances and for damn good reasons, as a born and bread Jamaican who understand most of the issues today, I am one who can face the current “music”. Many of us Jamaicans tend to avoid the realities of the current society and try to poise as if Jamaica there is no problem…Bull!! Face reality fools!

        I too was never born with a “gold or silver spoon” in my mouth, however I was never hungry, my parents were humble and we lived simply and learned not to be wasteful-conserve our resources…never the less, the anger some of your commentators have expressed in some derogatory languages, just proves how much anger is within our society today. Nevertheless, education or the lack of is the basic factor driving this behavior…individuals who do not take the time to learn to read and comprehend are at a great deficit in todays society…lazy and ignorance is a major concern…

  82. Need to do more than just write articles. When the PNP needed to get majority on their side so they could defeat the JLP at the poles, they went out and recruited the young people. Today, they are an almost unstoppable force in the country. If we are to tackle our problems successfully, get into the school system, teach values and attitudes that can help to curb the thinking of the young. Education is the key. Also get into positions that will facilitate, affect, and effect policy changes that can substantially address the problems. Get involved in the communities where crime is like second nature to the residents. Teach volunteerism: GET INVOLVED! Classrooms are overcrowded and the government claims it cannot pay for assistant teachers: volunteer your services, your time, your education in underperforming/failing schools. All who keep wondering what is wrong or what they can do to help can form groups and move into communities that need help, into the basic/infant and primary schools and offer what you have. And make it a sustained effort please. Don’t just do it for the cameras.

  83. Good blog Dmitri. However, we have to realise that there is a spiritual component to crime, violence and social degradation. (To any problem, for that matter).When people turn away from serving the Lord and begin to pursue their own ideals and ends, only destruction will follow. A land is healed when it’s people, starting with the leadership of the land, humbles themselves and seek God for deliverance. Because He has promised to deliver from trouble all who call upon Him. (see Psalm 46:1). The problem lies in us as a nation, turning away from God and seeking other paths for the solution to our problems. I am not talking about attending church or singing gospel songs. I am talking about a sincere seeking of the Almighty for wisdom, direction and purpose. Hence the verse in our National Anthem is true. ” To our leaders Great Defender, grant true wisdom from above.”

    1. You are right and did you know that we are the israelites who GOD scattered into 4 the corners of the earth, slavery and every bad thing that happened to us is punishment from God for breaking his commandments our ancestors paid the price for this and we still in bondage to this day Deuteronomy 28 explains all this.

    2. Fiona, you raise an important point. As a nation firmly rooted in spirituality, it is definitely something which many people can and will agree with. I appreciate the feedback you provided.

  84. I read your article and I fully understand what you are saying, but theirs nothing you can do about the situation in jamaica because its all bible prophecies and its a curse from God for breaking his commandments after moses took us to the promise land Deuteronomy 28 explains what would happen to us in the last days.only going back to the bible and read what God wants us to do only then will Jamaica be a better place.the gun men don’t know God and they have no fear for the wrath of God because they were never educated about who they really were and where they came from because of all the lies of the white man in our history.we are the biblical israelites and only by teaching the Jamaicans their true history is the only way to help them..dimitri I know you are an educated man and you should do research on the hebrews isrealites and their you will find all the answers to our problems because this truth is not preached in any churches.

  85. i am with you,i too have been thinking of how i can make a change enenthough i no longer reside there.The hardship i withness my fellow Jamaicans face daily breaks my heart.we can do,we can be the change we want to see,with the same enthusiasm and support that help tessanne won the voice, we can channel all that and create a new jamaica,one with hope for future generation.

  86. I live in Miami and I am 100% % sure you could use the word Miami in place of Jamaica in this teardown you just wrote.No solutions as expected,but always prepared to criticise and generalise.Obviously another Clarence Thomas.Lots of Uncle Toms out there gonna agree with you because they don’t know better.If you were truly concerned about Jamaica,you would be trying to offer solutions.Do you even know what it’s like to live in the inner city areas?

    1. Thanks for your reply and feedback. It’s disheartening that you chose to apply labels in furthering the discussion. I have several family members that reside in the inner city. With regards to solutions I wrote a post to follow up with the one you initially read. I have also been involved in spearheading programs to forward the cause of making our nation a better place.

      Jamaica was recently listed as the top 5 most murderous country in the world. Therefore your per capita murder rate in Jamaica is significantly higher than the city of Miami. Notwithstanding I consider Jamaica home, therefore what happens in Jamaica concerns me more than what happens in Miami. One cannot and should not live in such a way that they ignore the reality of the life around them.

    2. I know I am no Uncle Tom and I live in Miami and have spent six months out of 2013 in Jamaica, I stay in the heart of Kingston and it violent bad, I came back exactly one week ago. I love Jamaica and do a lot of charity there and would never turn my back on my country. I also show off my country every May when I invite and accommodate visitors at least thirty to my annual birthday bash on Hellshire. Five days of touring the island and yes, I show it off…but mi fret and even the artists I have around and body guards for these guests warn us to not stray away alone. I have seen some things happen that I don’t want to put here. When there I gp to Coronation Market for fruits at least three times a week. It is crazy there…trust me, However, I am never scared but the people who LIVE in the area stay warning me to be careful. I applaud Dimitri. From the amount of feedback to his blog, I’d say it’s a posltive start. If yu cover a sore it won’t heal. I know of what I speak. One day a young man rode with me to Mandeville so I wouldn’t get lost…the next month he was shot 13 times because of an idiot argument at a domino game. Peter…read the story I wrote in October on my blog right here…Jamaica…E Class & Pushcart. We all love Jamaica. We have to fix it. Respect Peter and Dimitri

    3. We are talking about Jamaica not Miami or anywhere else. Calling people names does not further the discussion. I am a BIG BLACK JAMAICAN MAN and Jamaica scares me. I have had friends beaten and killed in Jamaica over the past 5 years. I have lots of American friends and none of them has been killed or beaten during that span of time. So you can cover your head in the sand and say that Jamaica is unlike any inner city in the US. It should not be because we are better than that. Dimitri Lyon’s post is stimulating and thought provoking. It deserves respect and commendation even if you disagree, not ridicule from someone who seems not to have the least bit of courtesy, maturity and class to disagree without being disagreeable and insulting. Your words betray you as someone who does not have a clue..

  87. I left Jamaica in 1973 for the United States and have returned on numerous visits to find a steady decline of values and respect for others. Most want to live like middle class Americans without the resources or the means. So they beg, scheme, rob, and kill to get what someone else has. I remember, a few months ago, watching a news story about young Jamaican men scamming lonely American and European women out of their money with the promise of love, not unlike the notorious scammers of Nigeria. And I remember the reporter interviewing everyday Jamaicans in the streets about the problem and was struck by how unsympathetic most were with the plight of the unsuspecting victims. They were even laughing and praising “our boys” for pulling off the scam as they blamed the “foolish women” for falling for it. I was ashamed and disgusted as I watched the behavior of my Jamaican brothers and sisters in the series of interviews because those people, I did not recognize.

    But then there are those in Jamaica who despite the lure of money, education, and status, have stayed because of their love of country and a desire to do their part to change things internally. They still keep the peace and are trying to get our island back to the paradise that it once was. And I bow deeply to show them respect and admiration. Me? I am a coward because I fear for my life and the lives of my family. I have seen many of my friends beaten and gunned down in Jamaica because of a simple disagreement or a perception that they have money. So I criticize from outside the island with a futile hope that my words will someday, somehow change someone. Will never happen.

    Jamaica is still a beautiful country with it rolling mountains, beautiful beaches, and smiling faces of it’s citizens. But deep down, there is a cancer causing my beautiful land of the sea and sun to rot from deep within. Materialism permeates almost everywhere and respect for hard work and private farming have just about disappeared. Bauxite, sugar cane, banana, pimento, coffee, tourism, and cocoa were once strong and thriving industries that churned our economy. Now music, sports, tourism, drugs, and crime are what we are known for. And I would trade the last group any day for the first because then, we would have our island of the sea and sun back.

  88. You are a disgusting opportunist, profiting and gaining notoriety off the backs of Jamaica’s problems. A word of advice NEVER TRASH YOUR HOME IN PUBLIC. At the end of the day that’s home.

  89. To residents of the uptown communities, I appeal to you to not have countless employees where you do not plan to pay them adequate wages for them to finance themselves and their families. Invest in the TRUE culture of Jamaica instead of the European and North American for the next socially elite event. Do not burden roads and bridges for the sake of your selfish capitalism and then complain about the deterioration of the road surface. Ignoring the weight limits of the roads destroy the structural integrity of the very road you accuse the government for failure to maintain.

    I live in the inner city and no Don controls my or any of the families here. I live in the inner city and and we don’t spend our all on the latest trends for the next party. We spend our money on textbooks our teachers never ever make us use. Why would Jamaica be a party hub if the citizens live with this constant fear and paranoia of what happens at night?

  90. Dimitri, Thanks for the post. I don’t care if all or some of your points are debatable. Whether or not Jamaica has a middle class or some people intuit condescension from your statement to downtowners is a moot point. The point is, we need to have action! I am hoping the next phase of this awareness is a mass mobilization of Jamaicans (abroad and at home), channeled towards concrete things we can do in groups.

    I live abroad now but Jamaica remains central to my heart. I want to see changes too. But it has to be done in an organized, focused way. Personally, we have a Jamaican Embassy close to where I live and am always hoping to see something more of an effort to organize the Diaspora back to focusing on these same issues you raise. I understand that the mission of an Ambassador is heavily diplomatic but I imagine their work must be expanded to leverage diasporal awareness, along with action plans we can all take.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I am hoping to find ways to mobilize the diaspora. We did a great job recently in assisting Tessanne Chin in her victory in The Voice competition. It demonstrated what we can accomplish when we all unite around a cause.

  91. This is an excellent article! I also get passionate about our sorry state here in Jamaica, but I have to temper my utterances for fear of retribution. I have a community website in Falmouth, and I cannot speak my mind about the crime and other atrocities. Our country is dying fast but locals are powerless. You are correct. The diaspora is the only hope. They can attack from afar without fear of retribution. By the way, EVERY major problem we have here points back to politics!

  92. Cee Cee I hear you. We need to focus on solutions now that the problems have been identified.
    Where do we start?
    1. Police Force
    2. Politicians
    3. Mind Set of us Jamaicans (this includes everyone)

  93. Demitri, thank you for this great article! I am truly insipired. I believe its time to take it from the pen and paper to the walk with action. I am with you brother. Time for that great intellectual movement with the minds of folks who truly love our country and are willing to guide and channel change. Our Jamaica is not the Jamaica that our foreparents fought and died for, and as you said “The success of our athletes and our success in the realms of academia, pale in comparison to the number of innocent lives lost each year. Innocent bloodshed lay splattered across every page of our history”

    Lets rise to the occasion and effect change today and let it begin with me.

    Rich Davis

  94. So so true every words that dimitri Lyon says are so true keep up the good thought and keep posting what’s on ur mind I truly believe in what ur saying Sir our country is a mess the way it’s running god bless Jamaica n Jamaicans.

    1. Michael Manley was the first person of prominence in Jamaica that helped to give us an identity.. to make us proud of our culture. He changed the laws so people of color could visit hotels on the North coast. He took back majority interest in the bauxite company etc. etc.. It was Eddie Seaga (the Lebanese) that brought the first set of guns into Jamaica for political reasons… yes.. it all started right there in Tivoli Gardens many decades ago.

      1. When we refuse to except responsibility for our failures, any scapegoat will do. Stop pointing fingers and placing blame on others. Your life can only change to the degree that you accept responsibility for it.

  95. Nice but essentially useless ‘poem’. You should enter politics so you could use all the rhetoric and get elected then do nothing. You have not offered a single solution except to chastise the lower class for their plight. Ha, Ha. You probably have used a pseudonym so you can hide from repercussion. Yet Jamaica need brave educated young people to form a core to start on the solution. Parts are:- first creating a third party and kicking out the PNP that has been in power for majority of the last twenty years while foreigners steal our assets and big business.

    The key to dealing with the crime is identifying the root cause then tackling the root cause among which is the disparity in living conditions, availability of work and the absence of HOPE! Other part is education of the masses and education of the so called educated from the UWI. the people who should show leadership are so wrapped up in their own material wealth they have no time to address the underprivileged. The privileged middle class still drive the top of the line cars as they continue their own rapacious ways that is causing the anger of the underserved who have no way out but to commit the crime.

    There is a lot more to be said. My views obviously do not fit with the majority that has posted. I have to summarize that your thoughts are the thoughts of the old Jamaican politicians like PJ Paterson who won the elections and did nothing now your are bemoaning the plight without a single solution but to chastise the hopeless. You will hear more from me.

    Another point that makes me angry is how you down play the achievements of the Usain Bolt and the others who have defeated the rest of the world in sport and continue to be polished ambassadors for Jamaica. That is because you have an insular view of the world .. you can’t see the importance of their achievement on a global scale .. you cannot see the forest for the trees. You comparison of the sporting and academia achievement with the murder rate is ludicrous … shows immaturity of thought.

    And YES JAMAICA IS A PARADISE that needs to be REGAINED. Ask the Taino / Arawak Indians, the original inhabitants. Only difference .. is that we have let the weeds choke out the lush growth of the hands of a proud people. PARADISE can be regained but we need action not words!!! Are you ready to be part of the new third party? Let’s get together .. lets start talking to the underprivileged so we can understand their pain so we can provide the right medicine. We are too small a country to be so divided, a country where there is so much disparity in the standard of living.. take the blame and let’s get started now!!!

    1. Thanks for the feedback. With regards to your accusation that I have chastised out athletes, I beg to differ. I’ve written at other times about the positive aspects of Jamaica. However in so doing, I cannot ignore that which affects us negatively.

      With regards to what I see as a solution, I had also written a response post where I recommended an approach through education.

      I appreciate you taking time to read the post and provide feedback. Here is a post where I acknowledged the accomplishments we’ve had as a country:


  96. Dear Dimitri… thanks man. I’m reading this, and it ALLL sounds very very familiar. I’m reading posts from Anguilla and the Bahamas, people there are saying the same is true on those islands. And it’s true here too in T&T, the situation is identical, the complaints are the same, the analysts make the exact points you are making.
    Someone in the posts blamed “Trinidad and American” influences … ironically, turn that around and in T&T you will hear the claim “American and Jamaican” influences are to blame.
    So the finger pointing continues, citizens throwing hands up in the air in despair, changing political parties make no difference….and the police detectives cannot keep pace with the murder rate.
    One person’s post pointed to the influence of music on young people. I think That is an area where we could do some work, make some changes happen. One singer at a time, change CAN happen. The lyrics are almost never about anything positive plus the lifestyles of the musical “icons” set a terrible example, with drug abuse, sexism, glorifying violence and guns.
    A question always at the back of my mind concerns the sharp rise in crime… the US in recent years began systematically deporting their convicted criminals back to their birth-islands, never mind if they had zero connections back here. They came with No family ties, no social connections, nothing at all to link them to the new land of their exile. The US has been exporting hundreds of these criminals to our region, bringing their knowledge of the organisation of criminal gangs, with access to guns and drug lords. So as the US crime rate in New York etc “falls” and simultaneously our crime rates rise sharply, we need to throw a spotlight on that situation.

  97. If this were a test, I would give you 100%. I am sure you spoke mildly on some aspects of Jamaica, because it is a lot worse than you actually put it. Jamaica, in my opinion is almost a dead nation. It has being decaying from the inside out. I do not see an end for all the injustices, but somewhere out there, the end lurks..!

  98. Dimitri,
    Thanks for writing and sharing this.I was born in Jamaica, and migrated as a child over 50 years ago.

    The sentiments expressed in the National Pledge are important and if emphasized and reinforced might be able to play a role in socializing the upcoming generations. Is this Pledge recited daily in the schools?

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