Jamaicans say they would be better off ruled from London
Friday, 01 July 2011 00:26 peter nyoni More news
Most Jamaicans believe they would be better off if they were still ruled by Britain, a poll shows.
In a harsh indictment of nearly 50 years of independence, 60 per cent of those surveyed hanker for the days when the country was Britain’s biggest Caribbean colony.
Only 17 per cent said the crime-ridden, poverty-stricken nation would be worse off under British rule.
The depth of feeling is particularly astonishing as generations of Jamaican leaders have portrayed the British as oppressors who subjected the Caribbean to slavery.
The Queen is still Jamaica’s head of state. Under the headline ‘Give Us The Queen!’, the Gleaner – Jamaica’s biggest newspaper – said its poll showed how much people had become ‘disillusioned’ with the violent and corrupt political gangs running the island.
Sixty per cent of Jamaicans would rather be living under British rule once more - the country, whose capital is Kingston, pictured - has struggled in recent decades
‘As painful, and some will claim insulting, as these statistics may be to Jamaican nationalists, they are quite understandable – and even logical,’ the paper said in an editorial. ‘The attitudes are formed by people’s existing realities and their expectations for the future.’
These realities, it added, include living in a country ‘where, for more than a generation, economic growth has averaged below 2 per cent per annum and its homicide rate is among the highest in the world’.
The newspaper also highlighted Jamaica’s ‘creaky’ justice system, ‘patchy’ law and order, ‘indifferent’ education system and the widespread public perception of ‘overwhelming’ corruption.
The survey of more than 1,000 Jamaicans is embarrassing for prime minister Bruce Golding. He wants to mark next year’s 50th anniversary of independence by removing the Queen as head of state and making the island a republic.
Among older Jamaicans, nostalgia for what the Gleaner called the ‘good old days’ under Britain may have been sharpened by the island’s disastrous experiment with socialism in the 1970s. Left-wing prime minister Michael Manley introduced economically disastrous policies while publicly courting Cuba and scaring off tourists.
In recent years, violence by drug gangs has made the island one of the most dangerous places in the world.
About 25,000 Britons live in Jamaica, including 23,275 pensioners. An estimated 1.3million tourists visit the island each year, including about 185,000 Britons.