Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Jamaica: The land of wood, water and gimmicks

Published:Thursday | March 23, 2023 | 12:21 AM

The Editor, Madam:

For decades Jamaica has been a proud nation, distinguishing itself from other Caribbean countries. Whether for our food, music or culture, all that was left for anyone to say after the word ‘Jamaica’ was spoken, was praise. Everyone wanted to be us.

As a youth, I recall learning of Jamaica being a melting pot of cultures, blending to produce greatness. I could not wait to become an adult to not only experience this first-hand, but also to contribute. Sadly, within the last few years there has been a paradigm shift, and Jamaica has seemingly fallen off the pedestal.

The new age of social media is significantly contributing to a decline in our nation’s positive image. With the click of a button, all of Jamaica’s controversies are exposed for the world to see. On any social media site, a simple search for the word ‘Jamaica’ produces results of nothing but gimmicks. I am not one to turn down a good laugh. But a problem arises when that is all for which you are known.

Where has our proud nation gone? Gone are the days of Louise Bennett-Coverley, Bob Marley, and other nation-builders. They put us on the map, and today’s Jamaicans are working extremely hard to erase that. The legacy bequeathed by our forefathers is not only being destroyed by this new generation, but they are also being diluted for future generations.

Jamaicans must work together to build Brand Jamaica for the better. The Government is repeatedly asked to fix the tourism industry, but they are progressively nibbling away at its very foundation. People from other countries want to visit us to experience the vibrant culture of Jamaica that they have heard so much about– not to come and see the same jokes and gimmicks they get at home. Actions have consequences, and until we as a nation start to look at the bigger picture, we will be left in the dust.

Cooperation can still preserve Jamaica’s legacy. “One hand wash di other”, goes the Jamaican saying. I implore my fellow Jamaicans to take up the mantle and accept the charge of building a Jamaica we can be proud of. Otherwise, we shall remain the land of wood, water, and gimmicks.