Monday, May 24, 2010

The Decision to Leave Jamaica

One of my friends responded to a post from someone who said they were glad to have left Jamaica given the current unrest there. The responses were generally negative. Now maybe the person didn't put their comments in the most complimentary fashion but nonetheless there are salient points.

If you leave Jamaica it doesn't mean you are a traitor. There are lots of lovely things about living in Jamaica however, sadly the things that make it very difficult to live there are fundamental issues that affect life itself.

Unless you are well educated and can pull down a decent salary, you WILL be living in poverty with not much of a security blanket. And even if you do earn a lot there is the thorny issue of security. Some people still living there like to brush the crime situation off but it is a serious issue. And for those of us who just couldn't take the daily threat to life limb and property there's no shame in moving some place where you can be safe and not have to devote a sizeable chunk of your salary to basic food items.

Now there is an argument that if we all stayed then Jamaica would be a better place. No it wouldn't There is a culture in Jamaica that ensures that the minority of criminals and backward thinking attitude prevails and you can't prosper as a nation like that no matter how many well intentioned people stay. There has to be consensus that certain habits will prevail - such as being on time for instance.

I left because I realised that the way I wanted to live and progress was not in sync with how the majority of Jamaicans want to live. That difference is fine - if you don't like the prevailing situation in a country then by all means leave. But we shouldn't be chastised for that choice.