I Weep For Jamaica
The events unfolding in Jamaica are disastrous for the country, its reputation, tourist industry and economy. They give an impression that is completely false. In reality it is a wonderful place, full of kind, warm, generous people. I was astonished on my first visit to find the countryside lush and green, rather like Cornwall or Wales and the people more friendly than anywhere else I have ever been.
I was very privileged to be introduced to Jamaica by a Jamaican. It was no all-inclusive tourist resort for me. There the poor Brits hunker down and never move anywhere. They seem to believe that right outside the gates are a bunch of Uzi-toting crack dealers but it’s simply not true. I’ve been back several times and I love the place. I recommend Ocho Rios on the north coast of the island.
True, the murder rate is one of the highest in the world but it all happens in a very small area of Kingston. The rest of the island is peaceful and probably safer than London. I have been through the Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town districts where all the trouble is. It’s not a good place. You lock the car doors and windows and you don’t stop but it is tiny. According to my memory it’s not much bigger than, say, Regent’s Park so it’s easy to avoid.
Undoubtedly at the root of these problems is high level corruption and I wouldn’t be surprised if that extended to US officials as well as Jamaican. The cocaine trade is a huge curse on the country but while the world continues with its ludicrous, discredited policy of prohibition it will never solve the problem. Drug laws support and encourage organised crime and corruption. If we stay on our present course things will only get worse.
I weep for Jamaica and its wonderful people. Without radical international action, I have no idea how this problem can be solved.