There’s something about Jamaica Week 12 – Jamaica Independence 55


Amber Crowl Commentator on

About: “There’s something about Jamaica.”

There’s Something about Jamaica is a weekly post on Amber Crowl (DJ/Host/Promoter/Activist/ Writer) shares her views on Jamaica’s Politics, Economy and Social Culture. Amber welcomes your questions and comments  and you can send emails to  [email protected]

This week we look back at Jamaica’s Independence for this year, commemorating 55 years since the declaration of independence. The celebrations took place over the last weekend and usual, several events were planned for the National Stadium and festivities took place all over the island. Some people party during this time to celebrate independence from British colonisation while others just party because it’s summer time. Either way, it is one of the most festive times of the year in Jamaica. So much so, that most people don’t even think about the meaning of independence. 

Jamaica Independence: What does it truly mean to be independent? And is Jamaica independent? If we take some time to answer these two questions we may likely conclude that Jamaica’s independence is simply an event which happened on August 6, 1962,  and not a lasting occurrence. When we look at the fact that the majority of the Jamaican population is landless, while “crown lands” lie idle all over the country we see a profound example of how Jamaica is still not independent (the name “crown lands” speaks for itself).

Since 1962, we are under the impression that we vote in national elections so that means we have picked our leaders, right? Leaders who we hoped would be different from the colonisers. But who do these leaders answer to? Well considering the fact that the Queen of England has the Governor General as her representative in Jamaica, whose office is either paramount to the Prime Minister’s Office or equal to, then the answer would be, that our leaders answer to the Queen of England. Right?

If we take away all the distractions and things in-between, like the Constitution, we can see that we are still not independent. When we look at the fact that many of our national lands and treasures are now owned by foreigners, we see that we are not independent. When we take into consideration the fact that Jamaica depends heavily on England and the United States for too many things to mention, we see that Jamaica is far from being independent. When we take into consideration what it means to be a part of the I.M.F., the fact that most businesses large and small are owned by foreigners and that investors from overseas dominate the investment market sending money back to their countries, we see clearly that Jamaica is not independent. And there are so many other examples that I could give which, would continue to discredit the notion, that Jamaica has been independent since 1962.

Yes, we did see the abolition of slavery, the declaration of independence, the formation of the Jamaican Parliament and several other structures which were put in place for Jamaica to stand on her own feet. But have we been able to stand on our own two feet since 1962? No. Not when the system is set for the same set of people who suffered during slavery to suffer long after. We have a flawed system and a society which is severely undermined by the very people we hoped to rescue us from the oppression of England.

Jamaica Independence means very little or nothing to the average Jamaican. Because in a lot of cases he or she can see the illusion of independence played out day by day, year after year. The true meaning of independence should not be applied to countries in the situation that Jamaica is in. In my view, instead of things getting better after independence 1962, things have actually become worst. More crime, more poverty, more desperation among the population. Less opportunities, less hope and less trust between the powers that be and the population all point to a worrisome future for Jamaica.

If you still believe that Jamaica is an independent nation, I urge you to do some research which goes deeper than the few suggestion which I have made here. Go deep into our history and look at other nations in the West Indies and I guarantee you will begin to view the meaning of independence in a whole new way.

Thanks for stopping by. Join me next week for another edition of “There’s Something About Jamaica”  and don’t forget to like, share and comment on  Email questions to [email protected] and you can find me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @djambeririefm

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