Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You Ungrateful Wretch!

Some time ago I watched a program where various American millionaires and billionaires were being interviewed about how they came to be so rich and during the program I noticed a certain trend. They all at some point, made the point of asking God to Bless America, while declaring that only in America could they have achieved so much and if it was not for America, they would not be who they are today. I am sure loads of Americans watched the program and felt good about being from the Land of Opportunity… Real or Imaginary.....

6 of the Richest Men in America
Things like this ripples through a society and contributes to the feel good factor, as young people can grow up with something to believe in, they may not achieve all their goals in life but their minds are imprinted with that "Only in America Concept", spouted from role models in business and industry who made it in life. One guy declared that anyone can make it in America if they just apply themselves.

Highlighting the good things in life is even more important than highlighting the bad things. I believe that by promoting what is good about your society, will create a chain reaction of good vibes, causing good things to happen, as it leaves a positive impression on people’s outlook on life and making them more productive. I remember my economics teacher coming to the conclusion that Optimism and Pessimism are two of the most important things in an Economy, here we have a science that means nothing without people’s feelings. I also believe that promoting negative things will cause a negative chain reaction, causing people to seek out all the negative things around them.

The speed of Bad, Negative, disgusting things happening in a society like Jamaica travels 500 times faster than the speed of Good, Positives things and as such people are more likely to tell you about the bad things that happened, not the good. In Jamaica’s case this negative, Pessimism transcends space and time as our people take it with them even after migrating and disseminate this misery the first chance they get.

Some Real Wealthy Families of Jamaica
Mafood, McConnell, Matalon, DeLisser, Henriques, Beckford, Clark, Azan, Marzouca, Kerr-Jarrett, Watson, Hart, Sangster, Ashenheim, Zacca, Younis, Gore, Messado, Melhado, Bromfield, Rousseau

Jamaica has its fair share of rich families, who have been and still are movers and shakers of our society, whose fore parents came to Jamaica with nothing but their lighter complexion. Europeans, Chinese, Arabs, Jews, Indians all descended on Jamaica, some with only their two long hands and because they were not black, the doors of opportunity automatically opened for them, they did not have to kick it open because colonial Jamaica was perfect for them, the ideal climate and attitude from a population that equates anyone not black to be of up standing character and welcome them with open arms while declaring "Anything too black, No too Good". They were more likely to be giving the benefit of the doubt and they took advantage of that. Jamaica also have many rich colonial and post-colonial families who are black, some had to kick open doors and demand that they be given equal access to our resources, it was an uphill struggle but they made it against the odds. Others aligned themselves with various political factions in order to gain political favours, wealth and power.

Some will say that Jamaica is a “Out of Many One People” country I have heard various stories about these wealthy families going to great lengths to import their significant others when local options are limited, one not only must ensure the family wealth remains intact but also the family colour and heritage.

God Bless Jamaica?
Regardless of who these wealthy/rich people are and how they came by their money, one thing is common… I have never heard the rich and well to do in Jamaica asking God to "Bless Jamaica" in a thankful way or declare that if it was not for Jamaica they would not have achieved such wealth and comfort. Jamaica’s rich, it seems, believe that Jamaica is not in any way shape or form responsible for their good fortunes. It is as if these people believe that, ...it is they who made Jamaica and not the other way around. They do not see their relationship with Jamaica as symbiotic and if they did, they will never say so.

Where would Butch Stewart be without Jamaica, who would he be? In a country like America or in Europe, he would be just another white face in the crowd, nothing special, he would be seen as equal to the people around him and as such his rise to power, wealth and glory might have been much harder. However in Jamaica he was special, a member of a unique small group of people and who he is today, is because of the unique set of circumstances that existed in Pre and Post colonial Jamaica.

I am not saying that these men and women do not have the spirit of entrepreneurship, what I am saying is that Jamaica was the right place, at the right time for them and if they were in any other place or time they might not have been so fortunate, so where is the big ..."Thank You Jamaica"! In all my years going up in Jamaica I have never heard it. Some of these people driving around Jamaica like their shit was used to make Tastee Patties would still be in the middle east throwing rocks during Arab Spring, trying to fight oppression.

These now rich Middle Eastern colonial immigrants should wake up every morning, go out onto the Balconies of their mansions, breath Jamaica's fresh air and shout to all of Jamaica, Thank You Jamaica, for accepting us and making us who we are today and God Bless Jamaica…
As I said in a previous blog, by the time a Jamaican child reaches the age of 10 he is well versed in all that is negative and disgusting about Jamaica and Jamaicans. This child is already thinking that there is no hope for him in Jamaica and like a caged animal he is already looking to escape, why waste education and innovation on a country one believes is not going anywhere and there is no hope. This is what we tell our children, the future generation of Jamaica, we brainwashed them into believing that they will never amount to anything, that they will never be all they can be in Jamaica.

Most of our well-to-do Jamaicans live in Jamaica but not in Jamaica, they exist in a bubble, taking great care not to share themselves or promote good values to the less fortunate, things like giving back, offering a helping hand, paying respect to their country and its people are a lost concepts… Philanthropy what’s that?


Most of the Philanthropy organization that exist, exist to pay lip service to helping people, the real reason for their existence is not to better other people’s lives but to make their members feel better about themselves, feeling like they are important, these are ego stroking groups, the place to be and to be seen, networking clubs, many associate themselves with these so called charitable organization because of the prestige it gives them. 

Our Rich, Wealthy families would never stand up and declare that they owe everything to Jamaica, there power, their wealth and if it was not for Jamaica and all Jamaicans they would never be the successful mover and shakers that they are today, living a life of luxury, in style and comfort for generations. The last statistic I saw on income distribution showed that 51.61 % of total income is earned by the richest 20% of the population and the richest 10% earned 35.90 % of total income. I think the rich in Jamaica thinks that they did not become rich because of Jamaica but in spite of Jamaica and as such they owe Jamaica nothing but I wonder where they would be if their ancestors did not find this goldmine of an island that made them possible.

The Arrival Of:

UPDATE 2016/05/05
The article outlines the historical rise to wealth and power of the none-black Jamaicans after they migrated to Jamaica. It would be unfair to superimpose the problems we face today with the issues that existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s because that was a different Jamaica with different problems. I am saying that Colonial Jamaica was engineered so that some people could prosper and some people could not and the people who could not were told to be content with their lot in life.

It is based on this background that our imported none-black class could prosper and when there was an attempt to re-balance the scale, promote social justice and create a more egalitarian society most of them rejected it and a lot of them ran with their wealth.

If you look at the statistics back in Pre and Post-Independence Jamaica one would find that Jamaica was a society divided right down race and class. The literacy rate back then was about 38%, that is only 38% of the population could read or write. The vast majority of the country was without electricity and running water with inadequate housing and Unemployment was 45%.  Back then places like the Liguanea Club and many other places was mainly whites only and upper class only.

So the door of opportunities was opened based on who was trying to get it. That did not mean there was no successful black people who crossed the racial divide but when you talk to rich black people back then they tell you that they made it against the odds back then in Jamaica. That was the historical context and today we have a different issue.

Today we have an 89% literacy rate with a lot of black Jamaicans having advance degrees and attend the best schools around the world and yet they are less of a Nation Builder than uneducated Jamaicans in the 1930’s. This current generation is selfish, greedy and corrupt with an overabundance sense of entitlement and self-importance but that is today’s problem, colonial Jamaicans had different issues to content with.

14 comments:

  1. EXCELLENT POST and PERFECT timing as we come to the end of Jamaica's 50th anniversary!

    Add the Issa's and the Simonitsch's (founder of Half Moon and the all inclusive resort concept) to that list of big names!

    No matter how long I have been away, I know if I could sort out a decent career opportunity down there, I would love to move back home. I am not one of the ones that ever thought anything as a child but that the sun rises and sets on Jamaica... Didn't even want to leave, parents made me. But I realize as I run into Jamaicans from other walks of life, that most think "likkle Jamaica caan do nutten fi mi" and in some cases it's true, because of the social standing they were born into and the lack of the right connections (mostly from not going to the right schools), they are achieving things in America that were not happening for them back home. BUT in some cases they apply themselves to their books and to their job opportunities in America in a way they were not doing when in Jamaica!

    I met a great woman in Jamaica who yeah she mixed and red with long hair and lives in big house on Jacks Hill now, but she told her story of how she came from country bush where she use to walk with river water in bucket on her head when young, to now an entrepreneur that moved up in life!

    And is not just the light and white doing it anymore. It does take links to get around the red tape but as a minority you have a better chance of respect and making the links in the first place in a place like Jamaica than somewhere like America where as you said, the same things that make you special in Jamaica make you exactly nobody here compared to the 300 million other people that might fit your racial or economic description.

    My ability to get put 2 years ahead in US schools is directly due to the Jamaican education system that produced me. I thank Jamaica's culture and education all the time for making me the person that can adapt and survive and have admirable qualities as a person and make me distinctive to folks here, not just another black face. Without being Jamaican that would not be possible. And people don't realize down there that there is a GREAT power and influence on having your child grow up seeing black people in successful positions of every corner of society, in your bank, in your schools...not just out on the streets. America might be the land of opportunity but as a professional most of the black faces you see are at the bottom of the totem pole or out on the streets loafting, especially the men. In Jamaica positive black achievement is everywhere, in the classroom, bankroom, sports field... we don't grow up feeling less than everybody else or with the minority complex.

    The culture and education and focus on relationships/links and not just paper contracts and money and the love of children in the society (read how many professional Americans complain of the terrible fight to live up to corporate demands which do not care about family obligations even when they say they do)...these all help people to have opportunities in Jamaica or at least a mentality that allows them to get ahead elsewhere. But I don't think even the poorest among us realize the pride and values and strength instilled in us AS JAMAICANS is what helps them no matter where they are when they get their opportunities.

    Some of course are exceptions but for the most part the overall Jamaican culture produces very smart people who value relationships (part of why links end up so important to get anything done!) and family (even if the downside is people might have too many kids at times, but most of the people having them whether rich or poor genuinely love kids and having that family life!).

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  2. Out of many only one set of people are benefitting. Jamaica land they love.

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  3. A very small portion of what you have written is true. The majority sounds like sour grapes. I know of s many wealthy Jamaicans that give back to the country. Where do you get your facts from. what a disservice you have to to so many folks that has helped the country. Most are proud to be Jamaicans and love the land.As I said a small portion of what you wrote is true , such as lighter complexion did and probably still does help and some families original wealth were gained during the colonial days of Jamaica. Do a little more research, you wont have to go any further than the internet and you will see that you have clouded the facts greatly

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    1. UP to the race riots of 1968 there were still laws on the books of jamsica that prevented black jamaicans from getting any licenses to trade or commerce.
      The only professional position they could legally hold was that of a physician.
      They couldnt work as a chemist in any laboratoory.
      They couldnt hold a rank above inspector on the police force, or a rank of NCO in the military. And the military was segregated too.
      It was Mr Seaga tabled the law to change that.
      So it is true.
      Only then the mjority didnt know.
      Because they intentionally kept them semiliterate and used lack of qualifilication as excuse.
      since they were. It allowed to attend high scbools in numbers.

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  4. It is interesting and unfortunate that you choose to interpret my disappointment with the contribution of the rich and famous towards the Nation Building process as sour grapes. How I see it, is that collectively as a power group, over many decades, their wealth generation and over the top profile lifestyle was done at the expense of the Nation Building process and grassroots development as they willfully take on the persona of the old colonial class. I see many have hijacked some great philanthropy organizations and converted them into members only wine and dine clubs for the rich and famous while paying lip service to real Nation Building.

    You fail to see my disappointment but instead interpret it as simply low class jealousy, how typical, while never missing the chance to point out your proximity to the moneyed class… another typical.

    It my opinion they wasted many decades trying to portray themselves living the colonial lifestyles, the look at me, I am rich and above all, when they should have rolled up their sleeves and engage the Jamaican society trying to mold hearts and minds of Jamaicans from every level of the society, helping the men and women of Jamaica to think and act sensible. We have not gotten a sense from them that we are all in this thing together, Jamaicans, one and all, especially when they are the ones who benefits the most and have the most to lose.

    We are not a rich first world country, the Development and nation Building of a country like Jamaica requires all hands on deck. But I have long suspected many among their ranks who enjoys and supports the existing status quo because it gives them a sense of being unique, able to stand out more, gives them greater control and feeds their superiority complex, with a people they can look down on. Yes sometimes they throw the society a bone but that is mostly for show and yes there are some who really cares and tries to help but as a group they have not done as much as they should.
    It is interesting that Shaggy a man from humble beginnings is the philanthropist the people are most proud of, the Shaggy and Friends Foundation have made a visible difference in the lives of many while the new home grown colonials are not known to the people., the people see them drive by in their over the top SUV and say, there goes another Mister Big who act like we do not exist but when they see Shaggy they say their goes a man of the people who cares..

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  5. well said. i really liked your article and the issues you highlighted.

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  6. I have heard Butch Stewart and many other monied lighter complexioned persons including the Matalons and McConnell's voice their gratitude to their homeland and they do give back. In my personal experience it is so hard to run even a small organization that depends on a Jamaican labor force that I take my hat off to those managing hundreds of employees successfully. Unfortunately the poor and oppressed are complicit in maintaining the slave mentality that persists and leaves Jamaica an economic backwater to this day. If it weren't for the entrepreneurs and stewardship of the private sector, Jamaica would be even worse off than it is. Both political parties and the servants they patronise are responsible for the economic stagnation that maintains the vicious cycle of ignorance, high birth rates, poor parenting, violence and despair that leaves poor people in a hand-to-mouth state where 'padna' represents the extent of their personal financial planning. Might as well bring back cash plus and olint! Please don't waste your educated mind breeding hate and racism. The colonial days can be over if we behave deliberately. It's time for deliberate action, land reform, ousting disgusting, thieving politicians and making Jamaica a productive country again where the PSOJ motto is more than a dream.

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  7. Everybody sees what they want to see, for example you mentioned the PSOJ, whose title sounds impressive, as if they have been acting as an engine and the driving force for positive change and Nation development but in my opinion the PSOJ is based on selfishness and Greed and takes no responsibility or role in the Nation Building process… Their aim is to make a profit and they are willing to do this at the expense of the country and its people… Can you imagine importing Tamarind when that product is readily available or so easily produced, or importing products being produce my our hard working farmers and local manufacturer only to kick away the legs from under their business… Farmers are forced to dump milk and produce because they have no market.

    Then we have the past owner of Air Jamaica collecting departure taxes for years and not turning it over to the people of Jamaica, as a matter of fact this practice is common among the members of the PSOJ… withholding money to fix infrastructure, education and healthcare for their own personal profiling at the expense of the country. They seem to have a lot of people fooled when they pay lip service to development and nation building and as such we must agree to disagree and I will ignore the rubbish about “breeding hate and racism”, I have no idea where that comes from and must be the only way you can interpret criticism…

    If you can produce taped interviews of them thanking Jamaica and Jamaicans for making them possible, allowing them to live a life they could never ever live elsewhere then….I will gladly post it…

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  8. Some of the information published is clouded, and very untrue, I myself have heard them many times if you read and follow the local and international news. Butch Stewart was not born into wealth, and I can say without any rebuttal that some of those in wealth and position at the time he started tried to keep him down when he tried to enter the big arena which was controlled by them, it was only with hard work, dedicated staff, leadership by him, and his motto of "The Pursuance Of Excellence In Quality And Service" that saved him. Writers seeking headlines one can always get attention by cursing the rich, famous, and politicians these subjects are always a guarantee to be read, but, many of these people have given damn good service to the people and country Butch Stewart included, those who write and want to be taken seriously must write giving all facts not just portions which may be true as they may mislead young minds of historical events and values.
    Writers who want to be taken seriously must write stop rambling with subject matters that are passé and boring spending valuable time repeating the same subject matter written and discussed by many who we can predict what their thoughts are by just seeing their names attached to any article anywhere. Credit must be given that some of what is said in this article is true but definitely does not reflect all of the persons falling into the category of all the rich and famous and definitely not those who have made their wealth by the sweat of their brows and the use of their god given brains, some have had their names and pictures blazoned across the news for giving five hundred thousand dollars, yet many have given millions and continue to do so without marching bands, balloons, cameras, microphones, ribbon cutting, and their names carved in marble on buildings for all to see.
    Butch Stewart is one such person his philanthropy stretches across the Caribbean and have never ever forgotten to say thanks to Jamaica its people, and his employees.

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  9. Omg!! I just love this article I do not live in Jamaica at the moment but I will always love my beautiful island and I so agree with you when you say the future generation of Jamaica, we brainwashed them into believing that they will never amount to anything, that they will never be all they can be in Jamaica. And the part I love the most is this am not saying that these men and women do not have the spirit of entrepreneurship, what I am saying is that Jamaica was the right place, at the right time for them and if they were in any other place or time they might not have been so fortunate, so where is the big ..."Thank You Jamaica"! In all my years going up in Jamaica I have never heard it. Some of these people driving around Jamaica like their shit was used to make Tastee Patties would still be in the middle east throwing rocks during Arab .Much love to you,
    God bless Jamaica my home sweet home

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  10. You people are sure jumping on the Butch Stewart bandwagon, when he was mentioned once but out of all the wealthy families who came to Jamaica with their two long hands and their skin colour and got filthy rich, where are the rest of these Nation Building, Patriotic, Nationalistic People… Those of us who live long enough can remember when even Butch Stewart’s actions were regarded as anti-Jamaican… When he acted in his own self-interest at the expense of the Nation…

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  11. Great article. Even the neocolonialism can be seen in their establishments, most managers or upper management are not reflective of the population... or even Jamaican. THANK YOU JAMAICA!!!

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  12. As a Jamaican, I knew Butch Stewart when he was a young struggling salesperson, selling Fedders (window) air Conditioners to Hotels. This involvement gave him some perspective on tourism. At the time of migration and stampede by Hotel owners, Butch saw an opportunity, and took the risk to jump into the Hotel industry. Kudos to him for taking such grave risks.

    He singlehandedly helped to maintain and bolster one of our largest industry.

    He has contributed to the workforce by providing the opportunity for his people to grow and I mean all Jamaicans of every ethnic background.

    True Philanthropy is done quietly and effectively. I do not believe in the U S system of shouting from the roof top. It will not be difficult to research the amount of Dollars and efforts returned to communities by the wealthy of Jamaica. One may be pleasantly surprised.
    I can recall an incident as an example, when a relative of mine went to Mr Issa to ask him for a contribution towards a new start up Community College. He gave class rooms, equipment , money and encouragement. Today that College is the second Largest community College in Jamaica. He does not shout from the roof top about it nor does he need to say God bless Jamaica.
    he has provided blessings to Jamaica. One could seek out an abundance of facts of giving back to their country wherein success for one Family created Successes for many communities and Towns, and yes all of Jamaica.

    Financially, wealth is not kept under a mattress. Wealth is very hard work to manage. to maintain wealth, it has to be invested in Capital projects which require talent , trained people, a labour force etc.
    Consider removing all the wealthy families from Jamaica. what would happen instantly is economic disaster, increased poverty, increased crime, and a collapse of our society.

    "In all democratic societies, everyone is equal. some are just more equal than others."

    To say that our wealthy in Jamaica would not have been successful elsewhere is unfair, as there is no yardstick to determine what any person could have done elsewhere. Perhaps they could have been 10 times richer, we will never know, so leave the negative guess work out of the equation.

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  13. Thank you for your response and wonderful insight.

    Most Americans believe that anything in possible in America, everyone is fighting for the American dream and big part of that is because Most wealthy people in America wealthy pay homage to the fact that if it was not for America they would not have made it and by doing so they plant a sense of optimism and national pride throughout the population… The Average Jamaican is engineered from birth to believe that Jamaica is the root of all evil and the reason for their suffering and as such they must migrate…

    They all know we have wealthy people but most believe they are wealthy in spite of Jamaica not because of it and one of the reason why that is so is because the Jamaican wealthy do not talk positively about Jamaica, nor do they pay homage to Jamaica and that is speaking from experience chit chatting some of them in Portie over the many, many years. It is nothing but constant complaining and I often wonder what the heck they are complaining about. None that I know have ever really expressed gratefulness and why is that?

    Kids need to know and believe that anything in possible in Jamaica, that they too can be a Stewart and an Issa and they do not have to migrate to achieve that. They need to believe that there is such a thing as the Jamaican dream but when your have wealthy, successful people do nothing but complain, or silently give as you say, what are they to think?...

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