An interesting article from today’s Jamaica Gleaner illustrates a concern that many Bajans have with CARICOM – although we might share common origins and history with our Caribbean neighbours, there are some cultural manifestations that we would just as soon not import to Barbados…
The article’s author, Stephen Vasciannie, is Deputy Solicitor-General for Jamaica. He laments that one day last week while Jamaican newspapers printed story after story about Jamaican murders, rapes and violence, the Barbados Daily Nation printed frontpage stories about school track and field competitions, cycling and a lady left homeless by a house fire.
Although the article wanders around a bit, Mr. Vasciannie’s main point seems to be that Jamaica is getting an unfair shake as the only stories about Jamaica in Barbados’ Nation Newspaper concerned drug trafficking and money-laundering.
Mr. Vasciannie talks about how, under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, there is a notion that there will be an economic integration – but that it would be beneficial if there was also a social integration…
“But even if the impulse to integration is essentially economic, it will help if the Caribbean people perceive themselves as part of a broad social unit, with a core set of shared values, and with common objectives. It will also help if the social unit has a similar set of interests, is attentive to similar cultural developments, considers itself as having commonly held historical experiences, and recognises the need for the countries of the unit to respect each other.”
Sorry, Mr. Vasciannie, but many Bajans are hard-pressed to perceive themselves as “part of a broad social unit, with a core set of shared values…” with Jamaica. Simply put, the problem is the horrific rate of violence that seems to be endemic to Jamaica. (Some samples here, here and especially here.)
Murder Rates – Jamaica vs. Barbados
(Other comparative Interpol stats here.)
And here is a typical street scene in Kingston, Jamaica after a bad night…
No need to say anything more.