The Impact of Jamaicans on the world
by Basil Waine Kong
I left Jamaica in 1959 when I was fifteen years old and returned after I retired on reaching my 65th birthday in 2008. During my lifetime, I have been fortunate to experience all the major cities of the United States as well as over 100 countries. Wherever I may roam, I can depend on two things: I will hear Bob Marley’s music and find Jamaicans making a positive contribution. The list is endless but would obviously include Will.I.Am, the creative genius of Black Eye Peas and Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. Last week-end was no exception.
I was in Orlando attending my Grandson’s (Kai) first birthday and as is my custom, I read the local newspaper. The Sunday Highlight was the story of an Attorney from Jamaica (Wayne Golding) who chairs the Bi-racial Committee for the Orange County Schools. He was pictured standing proudly in front of portraits of his two heroes, Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley. His committee is responsible for maintaining racial balance in the Orlando public schools and promoting racial harmony. He migrated to the United States 28 years ago, married and is the father of two children. You make me proud Mr. Golding.
I recall the story that during one of the Olympic Games, the Prime Minister of England and the Prime Minister of Canada were sitting together when the Canadian Prime Minister remarked that England won more medals only because there were more Jamaicans in England than in Canada. Jamaican men and women are the fastest human beings ever to walk (and run) on this earth and the most gifted overall.
We are a remarkable people. Never doubt that a small group of talented committed people from a little Island can change the world. The question remains whether a group of talented committed people can change Jamaica. We know many of you living foreign are doing great things but what are you doing for Jamaica and what is Jamaica doing to promote your return. If Jamaica is to overcome poverty, crime and educational and health care disparities, we must shed the “old” Colonial mentality and embrace the power of ingenuity and invest wisely in our future. Your home country could use some help in this, our hour of need. Leaders in Jamaica could also use a healthy dose of humility in accepting your talents. Come no man. Put your hands and shoulders to the wheel for Jamaica! We cannot just complain about the current government without a brain trust to replace those who continue to promote old ways of thinking that prevents true progress.
I have always been impressed that Japan has no natural resources, (no oil, gold, silver, bauxite, diamonds, wood, steel,etc). They are the third leading economy in the world because they buy natural resources from other countries, add value and sell it back to the world at a mark up. This is people power! They buy steel, build cars and sell them back on the world market at a tremendous mark-up. Are they smarter than Jamaicans? Absolutely not. We just sell our most talented and gifted people to the world cheap.
We need more people to be part of the solution and fewer to be part of the problem.
Bullet Columnist Basil Waine Kong has written several pieces for this journal and especially likes to expound on his favorite subject: his beloved Jamaica. He is a former Atlien (resident of Atlanta GA), and was the CEO of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) for 22 years before his retirement in 2008 to return to Jamaica. This article is reprinted with his permission from his blogsite; Coming in From the Cold… Bob Marley