There is surprising news coming out of Jamaica’s industrial front, shockingly, employers and entities have asked the island’s national training agency – HEART Trust/NTA – for brown or light-skinned trainees to fill vacancies at their companies.
“Wow” this cannot be , how could we have missed this in a country like Jamaica that claimed to have been unshackled from the chains of colonialist oppression , segregation, deprivation and dispossession.
I fail to see how this could happen in Jamaica where people feel they would be better off under the colonial masters, people who refuse to demand a new constitution, one that releases them from being subjects to a foreign power that cares nothing about them , but still swear allegiance to said sovereign nonetheless.
It boggles the mind that this could come up , when for decades only half white women could even think of entering beauty contests, or have a chance to win the miss Jamaica crown at home , even though the country is approximately 96% black. How can this be when most companies , Organizations, and literally every entity is owned , run, and staffed by light-skinned people, thank God for Government jobs and small hustle or dark-skinned people would literally starve.
How could this be when the tourism Industry is staffed by people with alien accents, even though some have never set foot on an airplane? How could this be happening when they didn’t want Marley’s studio on Hope Road? Yes Hope road , anyway…..
Of course this virgin discovery has generated a chorus of outcry from the usual quarters, the online fraternity and the old political hands, of course there are none older and have greater sleight of hand that Pearnel Charles of the JLP and the one and only Sister P , Portia Simpson Miller the President of the PNP , leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister.
If it was up to me I would just give one of those national honors they dole out to cronies and friends, you know the type Carolyn Gomes and others have gotten? Yes those , just give one of those to Portia, and hopefully we wont have to hear her pontificate, cry, and shout in anger, whenever the issue of rights, poverty, and discrimination comes up.
I am all for any such motion on Portia’s behalf, if it means I won’t hear from her again. Mark you I am always left wondering at what stage does Portia get to do something about poverty, abuse ,and violation of rights? You know since she has been in representational politics for ever, including the highest executive office in the country, the Prime Minister.
This is how the Gleaner characterized Pearnel Charles’ response.
At first, the labour minister was flabbergasted at the mere suggestion that Jamaican employers could be using skin tone as a criterion for employment. “No, sir. I don’t believe it,” said a baffled Charles before his bemusement turned to anger. If I meet one of those employers, I would personally see to that person being prosecuted,” said the labour minister, himself a veteran trade unionist. He noted that such discrimination had no place in the 21st century. “hat can’t happen under this Government … not when I am minister,” said Charles as the notion sank in. e added: “If you can prove it to me, I’ll throw the whole book at such an employer in this country.” Carles, who called the colour prejudice expressed by some employers racist, sought to assure the nation that the Ministry of Labour would move swiftly and decisively if it were to receive complaints from persons who were denied employment on the basis of their skin tone. “Expect immediate action from me and the Government using every piece of machinery to eliminate it from this society,” he said.
Now I am no lawyer but I am left wondering exactly what would Charles do except to advise any such person , so transgressed against, to seek legal counsel?
It seem to me that behind all of the commotion and howls of feign ignorance and anger that Jamaica has always been a country deeply steeped in racism and Caste-ism.
Simpson Miller, in her angry reaction to the report, warned Sunday night that such prejudice against dark-skinned people would not be tolerated in Jamaica “ever again”. She said the practice, reported by officials at the HEART Trust/NTA, is a “prescription for what we do not want in a country like this” and urged the Government to launch its own investigations. “We do not want divisions … . We are all one,” she told the public session of her South West St Andrew constituency conference at the Haile Selassie High School. “When you come to tell me that you’re going to bring back in Jamaica the days of the colonial masters when only people with fair skin and a certain type of hair can get jobs, I am calling on the Government to investigate those companies,” she said. Simpson Miller also urged consumers to be vigilant, warning that “any company we go to do business and we see only brown people, and we don’t see a mixture of brown and black, then we are going to move our business”.firstname.lastname@example.org
Well what can anyone say about Portia? Portia is Portia , rhetoric, anger, bravado, emotions, heat no light or anything of substance, her statement speaks for itself.
The truth is, in their haste to curry favor with voters, now that election is looming ,both of these seasoned hands are falling over themselves to show they are in sync with the people, they both know how to play that game, a game Charles can never win against Portia, Portia has a monopoly on caring , shedding tears, and expressing anger.
Both of these politicians are well aware that the system they now feign ignorance of, has elevated and kept them and others like them, in power . The issue of color, is only one of the discriminatory practices that persevere in the country , there are all kinds of exclusionary castes based on money, education, Politics, etc.
Both politicians also know that there is leverage to be gained from this issue, and as usual are playing to the most base instincts of the masses. So once the masks of bravado and anger are peeled from the faces of these two actors, we realize this issue has been with us for ever, expressed, and implied, for as long as we have been around .
Faux ignorance and concocted anger does nothing to remove this scourge from amongst us. Many ordinary Jamaicans have known this for generations, hence the songs about browning, and the many and varied attempts at bleaching.
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