To give a bit of background information on myself, I will go ahead and mention that I am a dual-citizen of the US and a small and beautiful little island just south of Cuba, Jamaica WI – where I only lived for a short seven years.
Throughout my 18-year life, I have witnessed my island selling its every asset to countries in Europe – partly because of a corrupt government, and partly because of a carefree and silent people. Most of the big name hotels and attractions that bring tourists to the island are either privately owned or owned by a country that is not Jamaica. As a matter of fact, even some of the island’s schools are privately owned – Heinz Simonitsch in Montego Bay, for example.
This brings me to the million dollar question: What is the purpose of the government, and how does Jamaica make money?
People fight and kill each other over Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) versus People’s National Party (PNP) – the two major political parties – and when it comes down to it, they are both one in the same.
My college roommate asked me once, “What is the government like in Jamaica?” To this question, I paused for a minute and then said to her, “You know Chris, there basically is no government.” I am not sure I could have given a better portrayal of how the country runs. Of course I did explain to her why I said that and I will do the same for you all.
The Jamaican citizens are free to do whatever they want, as long as they have the money, and sometimes even if they don’t. Since its independence in 1962, Jamaica has made a name for itself primarily in sports and music. While that is better than many other Caribbean countries, I am not sure if that alone should suffice for such a generally loving, happy, and intelligent people.
The reason I write this note today is because I was reading the Jamaica Gleaner, one of the island’s newspapers, earlier and found out that the government has yet again sold a part of our culture to another country – this time the US. What part you may ask? Air Jamaica. If that did not completely shock you, I will say it again. Air Jamaica, once the Caribbean’s largest and most successful airline, is no longer owned by Jamaica. Indigo Partners and Oaktree Capital, the owners of Spirit Airlines, have allegedly bought AirJa and is considering changing the name to “Spirit of Jamaica.”
I know that for the past few years, Air Jamaica has lost plenty of money. If you have not noticed, most of the 747s they have been using are not the beautifully coloured AirJa airplanes, they no longer fly out of Miami International Airport, and they even stopped giving food to their passengers. Despite these setbacks, we continued to patronize because we all love that lovebird care and those “speaky-spokey” flight attendants – and we are even okay with the St. Marys banana chips as well. But what is going to happen to the airline we all love? Well, I am not really sure, but it can be both good and bad depending on how the patrons receive the change. If this means spirit’s cheap airfares will transfer, then I can’t say I mind – as long as the name and service remains the same. It is still a bit disheartening though because I felt that Air Jamaica was all we had left.
Now I’m thinking we should just go ahead and sell the whole island back to the UK. That way, we get free universal health care, cute little British accents, and a government that does not supply the people with AK47s.