Friday, August 31, 2012

Jamaica Returning Residents Info

You have been living away from Jamaica for some 20,30 or 40 years and in all that time you have not been a regular visitor to the island but now you have decided that it is time for you to retire and you want to retire back home in Jamaica. In all the time you have been away you have been carrying around these romantic memories of how life use-to-be, how wonderful life was in the area where you grew up. So you spent many years dreaming and pining about returning home to recapture these special moments in your beloved country.

There is nothing wrong with this except, you have been away from Jamaica for such a longtime and like anywhere else, life change, people change, places change. Some change for the better and others change for the worse but you would not know this about Jamaica because you disconnected yourself from Jamaica and like Morpheus disconnecting Neo from the Matrix, have been living in a romantic dream world.

First let’s clear up a few simple facts about Jamaica Today:
First Fact, Jamaica can be a Blood Sucking Black hole when it comes to money. Once you prime that pump with a few dollars it quickly transforms into a transatlantic money sucking vacuum cleaner because a lot of Jamaicans worship money and getting it consumes them and drives their greed.

Second Fact, there are people in Jamaica who have mastered the art of the “Hard Luck Story”. All they need is a willing ear and before you know it you are sucked into another dimension, the twilight zone where they ride you like a Jackass without giving you a drink of water. Heck even the Government mastered this fine art. They sell poverty, hard luck stories and "poor ting pickney looks", (kind of like puss in boot from the shriek movie) to every lending agency willing to listen. Jamaica it seems has mastered the art of existing at the mercy of others. So do not believe everything you hear because there is a method to their madness since some live by the saying” When you find a jackass, you ride him to pasture”. Again this is driven by their worship of money and greed.

NOW... I am not saying you are not supposed to trust Jamaican people because some of the nicest and kindest people I have met in my life are Jamaicans in Jamaica. But all you need to do is apply some commonsense.

Building your Jamaican Dream Mansion:
So you have chosen to build your dream house instead of buying a ready made house. One word of advice from me is  “You cannot be an Absentee Builder”. If you are going to build your house in Jamaica then it is best that you are in Jamaica to oversee what is happening. I am not saying you cannot find a trusting developer to do the work for you but there has been so many reports of people sending their money to Jamaica to build a house and when then come home, no house, no money and no builder!.

You have it in your head that you are going to build that dream house to rival all other dream houses, your version of Buckingham Palace. The problem is you are going to build this mansion in a village that may not have improved in all the years you have been away. In fact the area may have declined and you are now building a $40 or $50 million Jamaica dollar house in a location where the houses cost on average $1 to $3 million Jamaican dollars tops. Yes the quaint little village that you grew up in, is now impoverished and maybe crime ridden full of cutthroats but like I said you would not know that, because you did not do due diligence. You have been away for 20, 30 or 40 years and failed to keep up with changing times. You have no idea what is what and who is who and as they say “Location, Location, Location” is everything.

So you built a mansion, a sight to behold, the talk of the town, you import the expensive luxury automobile, wear your pinstripe suit with a bowler hat and cane driving down to the local village market to pick up a few provisions. All the while attracting the attention of the wrong type of people, those that want, what you have and God forbid they decide to come and take it from you. It would be wonderful if the rural country village you grew up in, remained wonderful, charming and peaceful just a darling of a village and I am sure most are but you cannot just move into an area you have not lived in for 20, 30 or 40 years without having firsthand intimate knowledge of life in that area. This place is now completely foreign to you, the people are also foreign to you and you are foreign to them but here you are with all your wealth and worldly possessions on display for all to see. In an area where poverty is all around you and now you feel like the only deer in the woods at the start of hunting season.

Common Sense and Street Smart
Whatever street smarts you picked up in your adopted country should return with you to Jamaica, don’t be naive, just be sensible!

If you are planning to return to Jamaica to retire, then make plans to visit Jamaica often, especially in the years leading up to your retirement.

Spend some time not just in the place where you grew up but in other places, research all areas, ask questions about different areas, about the crime rate in those areas, stop by the local police station and talk to the officers on duty, read the daily papers, watch the nightly news online, monitor the property value in different areas, research the schools in the area.

Disregard whatever old world concept or notions you had about life in Jamaica 20, 30, 40 years ago, wipe the slate clean and rebuild Jamaica in your mind from the ground up. At the time when you migrated you may have been in a certain social class but you may have evolved or devolved depending on your experiences and now you belong in a completely different social class and mixing different classes together can be risky. That is why in Jamaica we do not gentrify places, we pack up we Milo box  and move to a better area and leave out low class people.

If you are going to build a $40, $50 million dollar mansion then try to build it in an area filled with other mansions that value close to that amount. Since that is now your wealth bracket and people in that wealth bracket already have in place the appropriate security measures to ensure the safety for themselves, family and property. That may also be the right social circle for you to engage your mind, filled with like minded people. For example Vineyard Town 20, 30 or 40 years ago was a nice place to live but today you would not want to build a $50 million dollar mansion in the middle of that area, why? Because it is a ghetto with people who do not see life like how you see it. For that price range try Norbrook, Waterworks or Jacks Hill, the view from Bracknell Avenue is perfect all year round.

Money Cannot Buy Class! It goes both ways not because you can afford a $50 million dollar mansion means you have class and should live among decent people. If your lifestyle is low class then maybe you should live among people with matching lifestyle regardless of how much money you have. Nothing brings down ones property value faster than a low class vulgar person with money.

Idiotic Behaviour that will get you in Trouble:
I have a relative who came back to Jamaica for a visit after 40 years away from Jamaica, while staying with us he complained to no end that he hated where we lived. He called us bourgeoisie and proclaimed that he was going down to Barbican to be with his “black brothers and sisters”, his words not mine. We tried very hard to talk him out of it but could not, we told him to exercise caution. That night he put on his best English threads and off he went down to Barbican for a drink at Beenie bar with his “black brothers and sisters”. On my way passed the bar I stopped in to see if he was OK and saw that he was having a whale of a time buying his 5th round of drinks for the entire bar. Its was as if the man was trying to redistribute the Queen's wealth. People from all over Barbican filled the bar trying to get a drink from the very generous, rich English Gentleman, so I left him and went on my merry way, thinking who is the bourgeoisie now.

In the wee hours of the night after spending all his money buying drinks for Barbican and under a couple drinks himself, he decided to make his way home. But some of his “black brothers and sisters” must had been watching him because they pounced on him soon after he left the bar. He had no money left but they took his Jewelry, his clothes, the English threads and his shoes and he had nothing left but his knickers (underpants). He was saved by some of his “black sisters” who had been drinking with him. They came to his rescue and escorted him home. But for all I know it was their friends who jumped him.

I am not saying Barbican and Beenie bar is a no go area, not at all. My friends and I have on occasion stopped in Barbican at Beenie Bar for a couple drinks over the years but it is an area that requires certain amount of street smart, especially after 1 am in the morning, just use some common sense. I am sure there are parts of London that he would not have gone to flashing money about, the same for almost every country, I do not understand why the same level of street smart did not hold true for Jamaica.

Once you move back or even visit Jamaica it is NOT important for everyone in Jamaica to know you are a returning resident or visiting Jamaica. You are Jamaican, so just be Jamaican, in other words, you do not need to follow Ms Lou's advice and say “Poo” instead of “Pa”.  At times, fitting in works much better and to your advantage and sometimes not standing out is what you want to do. There are people who talk more patios and act more Jamaican when they are at home in foreign countries but when they come home to Jamaica they are transformed into a proper English Gentleman and Southern Texas ladies with accents people in both England and Texas would never recognize.

The impressions Jamaicans have of returning Jamaicans and of life in foreign countries was in fact created by returning Jamaicans. Because of their need to show local Jamaicans that they lived in a foreign country, have been changed by it and made it in life, they have arrived. Flashing and flossing everywhere. I know people who spend up to six months’ salary on two weeks’ vacation, splashing it from the minute they set foot at the airport. A person I know would start to splash cash the second he set foot back on Jamaican soil and boast how he spent several grand while still at the airport. I then heard he went back to NY and called another friend to borrow some money to pay for his rent. No wonder Jamaicans concept of life overseas is twisted with people being engineered to leave from birth.

Crime in Jamaica
The number one concern for returning and visiting Jamaicans is the issue of crime and rightly so. No one wants to return to a place where guns are barking every night like “mawga” dog on the street and bullets passing your ears more times than buzzing mosquitoes. But if we take the time to study the pattern of crime across the island one would realize that the majority of murders and criminal activities are localized to handful of parishes and very localized within those parishes to a hand full of ghetto locations. If one could look at a murder map of Jamaica, one would realize that the vast majority of Jamaica and Jamaicans are safe and living in peace, the people in these places rarely hear a gunshot or experience any crime what so ever. Even though their perception of crime is very high. We have three Counties and 14 Parishes in Jamaica with a population of over 2.8 million people and most of those people and location go about their business in peace and enjoy life as much as anyone else in the world.

I am by no means saying that Jamaica does not have a crime problem, it is a fact that our murder rate has been over 1000 for the past couple years but 98% of those murders occurs in a handful of Ghetto communities within a hand full of parishes and everyone can list these troubled no-go communities. We know which ghettos in Kingston, St. James and Spanish Town and we know to stay clear of them and they seem to stay clear of everyone else.

One of the problem or recent development is that these days, we are now so very connected, a fender bender car crash can happen on Hope Road at 3:00 PM and at 3:02 PM news of the crash is instantly broadcast to Jamaicans worldwide, Jamaicans living in Germany are aware of the accident as Global satellite systems disseminate information at the speed of light to internet servers and smart high tech hand held devices worldwide. Back in the days if three murders happened today we may hear about 2 in printed or electronic media the next day or over the next couple days and a fender bender would never even make news that would just be idle chatter by the people who saw it. People outside of Jamaica may never hear of it at all, the Daily Gleaner used to be monthly in the UK and people in NY would have to wait for the Star to publish every couple weeks. So most crime would go by with most Jamaicans at home and abroad not knowing it ever happened.

Coupled with the fact that news media’s are competing with each other to see who can find and report the most negative news, because bad news sells and is addictive to most Jamaicans. We are now bombarded up to the nanosecond with every criminal activity, every accident, every little thing and at the rate it is coming in, it has started to have an effect on the minds of Jamaicans worldwide. We cannot assimilate that much bad information at that rate about our little rock without suffering from it.

Do your Research and Practice Diligence
There are some wonderful places in Jamaica to live, in almost every County, every Parish but thorough research is required. Integrating yourself into any society is a strategy that you must learn and understand. I have read reports after reports of returning residents complaining that after spending every red cent they have to return to Jamaica  and are now too broke to leave. Disappointed with the condition of the area they moved to or shocked that paying bills is such a manual process, while others complain about the crime rate. The fact is what they are complaining about is known worldwide and not a secret just requires due diligence, research and then research it again, understand what you are leaving behind and what you are coming home to and where you are coming to, weigh the pros and cons with an open mind before making that move.

The Troubling Rise of Right-Wing, Racist Neo-Nazi Hate Groups and Governments
Your parents might have raised you to resent Jamaica, engineer you to leave Jamaica but the fact of the matter is Jamaica is our birth right. It is the only country in the world that must let you back in because every other country does it as a courtesy, what they give you, they can also take away from you. This land is your land, this is your rock, your society to mold, your nation to build.

Could it be that reason why we have so much problem in this country, is because the people of Jamaica see’s Jamaica as a place to escape from, so why waste time fix what you are so busy trying to discard? Maybe this rise in racist right ring Neo-Nazis and anti-immigrant feelings in the USA and Europe with their clandestine deportation flights, is a blessing in disguise. Maybe now we will begin to look at our rock not as a place to escape from but to embrace, to change and to Nation Build.

Jamaica Nice Every time!!!


  1. Replies
    1. Omg I love this article very good..well said

  2. having looked at property prices, as a young jamaican looking to return permanently and establish roots here, where does one find affordable housing in the "decent" parts of Kingston & St. Andrew. Been looking and I'm wondering if housing (even old houses or land) is out of reach of the upcoming generations

    1. It is not easy to find affordable property in Central St. Andrew, when I say central I mean those places the world and his wife wants to live. Every now and then the Government through the housing trust will build a nice gated community in a nice area. Take for example the Long Mountain community on top Beverly Hills, boasting security, pool and quickie mart, when they first came on the market the price was 4 Million but since then the resale value is 24 to 30 million. If one was to get in during initial stage of the project one could buy into a nice town house that increased in value with a great view.

      Also lets look at Jacks Hill, the central part is very expensive, but if you drive just 10 minutes pass the central part you immediately find yourself in rural Jamaica a stone throw away from Central Jacks Hill and Downtown Kingston and its far less expensive and you cannot beat the view.

  3. A marvellous expose of the runnings in jamaica. Every retiree should read and study the information you have provided thank you so much it is good to read what is going on without being impartial.

  4. Excellent narrative, but when all is considered I choose not to return to Jamaica. I have good family and support system for me in my latter years outside of Jamaica. I send the financial assistance to help out but I am not risking my life - especially when it comes to the old family land.

  5. I like round hill resort interior and exterior design and also beautiful sea that located near in round hill resort.

    Jamaican Treasures

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed your narrative. I am 33 and have been living in the US since 1996. I am contemplating returning to UWI for medical school as it is much more cost effective to study medicine in Jamaica as opposed to the US (1/4 the cost). My main concern is crime and being an easy target. Are my fears unfounded? Do you think this is a wise move?

  7. I would never say one should not worry about one’s safety and I would never say crime is not a problem in Jamaica. But we need have some perspective here and to separate the media hype from reality. Crime in Jamaica is much localized, down to the type of individuals who are victims and perpetrators of crime. The term if you lay down with dogs you will get fleas is to be taken literally when it comes to crime in Jamaica because 99% of the victims of crime are close associates of the people who commit crime, they are in some way localized to crime. So the question, why would you be an easy target, how different are you from the ordinary Jamaican going about their business that makes you stand out and attract the attention of criminals? And the answer is to not stand out and blend in, be one with your people, no one need to know you are coming from America, don’t stand out … Do not give the impression that you are different in that respect. Live outside of crime zones and associate with normal upstanding progressive people of which there are many. My niece also came back from the UK and studied medicine at UWI, well to be fair she also attended Immaculate High School on her return so blending it was easier for her… She is still in Jamaica working as a Doctor and has not thought about returning to the UK, she seems to be home where she belongs. And I hope you have been visiting home a lot to get accustom to life in Jamaica…Just be careful, think and act sensibly and you should be just fine...

    1. Thanks ever so much for taking the time to respond and for imparting your words of wisdom. I have visited Jamaica a few times since migrating to the US and plan to do so again before moving back if UWI will have me. Within the last 3 years I have tragically and suddenly lost both my parents. Now that I am essentially on my own with no family, I feel that the time is right to return home, rediscover my island and culture in a way I haven't done before and pursue my dream. Thanks once again and I wish you all the best for the New Year.

  8. beautiful i couldn,t have said it better thank you a lot for this information please continue to write more
    uplifting topics like this love it

    1. Great to hear some positive replies. I left Jamaica over thirty plus years.The first time I returned was fifteen years ago. I am sixty now. I really want to retiree to Jamaica in the next five years. So it is great to read all these positive replies. So thank you.

  9. Very insightful read, thanks for sharing.

  10. Good info..No matter where you want to relocate to. Jamaica land of my birth has been calling my name. I left with family from 1974. Parents returned in Early 80s. Been visiting throughout the years ever since. I am always very comfortable and fit right in. I'm 49. I never really considered retirement in Jamaica.Since my children and siblings are here. Recently visited in Jan. As always enjoyed everything. Just the simplicity, healthy from farm,fruits and vegetables. The sunshine,flora,butterflies,birds. Brewing a cup of fresh mint tea. Now, I am open to the possibilities. I know no place is perfect. Living in U.S is filled with hustle bustle. Cold weather most of year.! My thoughts have been pondering a desire to live the next half of my life in the little island of my birth that I always feel and hear a voice saying. I know this place and it always says welcome back.😃

  11. Very good article - but for me written too late. I was robbed and sucked dry by my very own brother and his family. When I got to Jamaica, as you said, no house, in my case no hotel, no money - broke milked dry. I packed the few things that I had and ran away from Jamaica to save my life. I still have not recovered financially.Latest happenings -the property that I left there, he made a lost Title Application in my name, got a new Title from the Titles Office, with the intention of transferring the Property without my knowledge.
    Thanks to the internet I discovered what was done and am now trying to stop this criminal. If you know of anyone seeking a beautiful seaview property please contact me.

  12. Same thing nearly happen to my Dad! Afte4 40 yrs paying taxes and occupying land that he bought, someone now wants to claim part of the land and made application to transfer land. Look after ur business, don't let the thief get away with it.

  13. I still love this post, I've read it multiple times but as I try to keep my focus on what I really need to do to be able to return and live back home (one ancient piece of advice my aunt gave was don't move back to rent, move into your own home cause the expense of trying to buy while renting down there won't make sense)... I needed to read this again to remind me there are people doing it. Just have to stay focused cause the cost of living in America can be as much of a black hole as living in Ja. But when I look at it, normal life in Ja can be way more fulfilling whereas everything that's fun about America, one can really live elsehwere and come here to do as a tourist, then leave. I came across a charter bus company owner who lives and works in Jamaica and vacations in America... ironic considering people here wish they could vacation in Jamaica or if they went once wish they could afford it again.

  14. Thank you Eloquence Inc, yes your aunt is right, buy, buy and buy. Take the plunge and buy. My aunt told me once to buy the house you can afford until you can afford the house you want. Use house A as collateral for house B. She also told me not to procrastinate which I am known to do and made many things slip away only to regret it.

  15. This is one of the best articles I have read in a while. Excellent advice. I stumbled on it because I am doing my research before returning home. I love the part of the article that reminds us that our home is our home. It is the only place we cannot be kicked out of.I just said that to the man I live with. Some people seen to think they can't make it in Jamaica when they are barely making it here in America. I firmly believe that we can make it In our county. As this writer says do your research. Thanks for this bit of encouragement. It has helped to strengthen my resolve.

  16. Thank you for this post. I've read it several times throughout the past few months.

    My wife and I are considering moving back to Jamaica to live at least part time. I'm 35 years old and she is 34. We have two children that are 4 and 2 years of age. We have a very successful business here in the United States.
    We looked at a particular neighborhood in Mandeville but later found out it was a stronghold of a very notorious don that I've heard references about since I was a child in the '80s.

  17. The crime is the biggest problem in Jamaica wherever one goes. Crime is in the USA, Canada the UK also that is what destroying our beloved country.
    Places in deep rural parishes when I was growing up in the 80s were mostly indulged in farming, but now if you think of retiring in those areas, these places are over ran by thugs and criminals. Where in Jamaica is safe to build a nice house to live, we have migrating thugs that are seeking safe haven to hide. I am from a rural area in and that is the place I want to choose to live, I visit few years back and the people of that community looked out for one another, as long as you mapped out your area where you plan to reside, security is a paramount to your family safety. Build strong walls and fences and try to keep dogs that are not too tamed by visitors, you can install infrared close circuit cameras as a part of your security. I have seen in the USA and Europe where people installed bullet proof and fire resistant doors.
    Jamaica is always my home and I cant be put out of my from my own home country, I have no where to go except Jamaica. We have to come together and build our country and arrest this crime monster that is scaring our fellow Jamaicans from the land where they grow up and called home, now is the time to say enough is enough and lets develop our country instead of building up others,