Land Caught in a Time Warp by Enrico Stennett

The Land Caught in a Time Warp

Enrico Stennett (9th October 1926- 7th July 2011) was born in a village in Jamaica named Maroon Town. Enrico Stennett arrived in the UK in 1947, at the age of 19, where within months he became a member of the League of Coloured People.

I am a Jamaican born of mixed heritage. Jamaica as an island has suffered the full brunt of slavery, where every method was used in the process of degrading, dehumanising and all other efforts of subjugation, which one could imagine. This was over 400 years ago, but so deep were the roots of the methods which were used to instil in the minds of its people, which brought about a sense of inferiority and worthlessness, that until this day in the 21st century we still remain not much better than we were then.

I left Jamaica when I was a boy I knew there was poverty and oppression of the people by the powers that be at that epoch of time, little did I know how lasting and effective the legacy of the indoctrination would be, which prevented them until this day from escaping the burden of hatred, disrespect, and grudgefullness, from one to another, and remains with them to this day.

In England it is now a criminal offence to refer to any ones skin colour in a derogative manner, ‘Nigger’ is a forbidden word, and one can be sent to Prison for using such words, yet here in Jamaica it puzzles me to listen to black people with a lighter shade of colour talking about the darker people as niggers and scum.

Their attitude has not changed one iota from when I was a boy, they still refer to people who are light skinned with straight hair, that they have got good colour and good hair, ask them about themselves their colour and their hair, and the reply is always the same. They always look at themselves as ugly in every way. How can a nation belittle themselves in this manner and expect to succeed in this world. Education the most important avenue for the progress of our nation, lack of education breathes lack of knowledge, which in turn, breathes lack of dignity, self respect, and self esteem.

The politicians who profess to be leaders of their people must be honest because without honesty one cannot demand the respect from the people they lead. Listening to the politicians I can’t help having the belief that something is radically wrong in a country where both parties are hated with little respect or belief for what they stand for. We speak of democracy; it is about time we explain that in our world democracy is only a word, with no value.

In the so called democratic countries you have a two party system both parties have the same principal and the same policies which they pursue, but vary these policies here and there whenever it suits them, but in the end they are the same, in other words twiddly dee or twiddly dum.

The present party in power has mislead the people using political expediency they have made promises they cannot fulfil, for a country which pays out 60% of their gross product to money lenders such as the IMF, and world banks, leaving inadequate sums of money to maintain the mere existence of its people, and a people who bluntly refuse to learn, to work, and to till the soil, which will produce the wealth to sustain them, but depend solely on handouts from strangers abroad.

My love for Jamaica as a young man with all its difficulties was so strong that I dedicated my life abroad in the pursuit for the independence and the upliftment of our people, I have always wanted to return but did not do so as I considered my work in the United Kingdom so important that it became a sole part of my life.

I am now 82 years of age, and decided it was time to return to the land of my birth and my childhood where I knew people irrespective of their colour, class, or creed, had accepted their various status, while at the same time struggling for independence and to be a free people. I realise the world has changed dramatically since I was a child, this change was for the better for most countries and peoples, but alas not for Jamaica.

Some may say I am writing this article through embitterment and disappointment, yes there is some truth in that, but one cannot help feeling very disillusioned to see the world move forward for the better while my own beloved country has deteriorated so much that they are beyond the pale. In the first place they are now a people who are ungovernable, a people who believe in anarchism they refuse to be governed, and have complete disregard for the rule of law.

Many explanations have been put forward for the reasons which brought this condition about, but after analysing the various arguments put forward, there can only be one conclusion, which is we have been destroyed as a people, and there is no going back. We have become like crabs in a barrel no one can escape because as fast as they try to leave the barrel all the other crabs hang onto the escapee, and drag it to the bottom leaving the dead carcass without claws, just to be discarded.

I must hasten to add there are a lot of decent, honest, and respectable Jamaican people who are a credit to themselves and their race, but most of them I have met and spoken to, whether they are young or old, are living in absolute fear of the future, and many are just hoping for the day when they will be able to leave these shores.

These people find themselves in bondage fearing to go about freely, being careful of whom they mix with, and find it expedient to segregate themselves from the masses. They no longer have any faith in this two party tribal state, where they see democracy as meaning two tribes fighting against each other for power, and do not care a dam what happens to them and the masses at large. They have no faith in the Police as they see the Police as enemies and not there to protect them. The corruption, which lies at the top of the stream, has mudded the water all through to the sea. The behaviour of the common people leaves so much to be desired. I have met most of the nationalities of the world but the nationality with the worse vocabulary one can imagine is in Jamaica, the using of the most foul languages irrespective whether man or woman, the sheer disrespect which is shown daily to each other, leaves us to believe we are nothing but dregs at the bottom of the barrel.

Since so called Independence we believe we are free and therefore should not work, the land no longer yields the commodities which are essential for the sustenance of life. A few people still decide they will do their best in farming small portions of land, which they have to work themselves as it is impossible to find decent labour in a land where 60 per cent of the people are unemployed, only to find at the time of harvest they have nothing but empty fields, somebody else who watched them while they worked also watched for the time of harvest, and they reaped instead. Leaving the poor farmer who has put his sweat, toil, and blood into the land reaping nothing.

Jamaica has reached the stage where they have become the most blood thirsty, callous and barbaric of all the Caribbean nations, they murder without pity, their senseless killing of one to another cannot be nothing but uncivilised. The lion kills for food, we kill for the sake of killing, it leaves one to believe we are a nation with an inherent hatred of each other.

It is nauseating to think we are a people who were once so gentle, where noble men like Carr Coombs, Barrister Smith, St William Grant, The Manley’s, Hart, Hills, not to forget Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle and of course Alexander Bustamante and the other proud people who fought for us, looking back one can only conclude their lives were wasted.

I pray for Jamaica the land I love, but I know deep down with the behaviour of my people as it stands today, my prayers will be in vain, leaving no hope for the future.

by Enrico A Stennett