about the IMF and how it’s nothing new… and me and you a part a di problem

so,

as you may or may not know Jamaica is about the enter Tax Armageddon as a part of a)trying to ‘save’ the country and b)the IMF  ‘deal’ that we may or may not get.

I use the quotation marks to imply the highest levels of shade possible and I hope they are read just like that. I am not an economist, but I have done a bit of reading on the IMF and Jamaican’s economic history, either way i’m  not speaking as an economist, i’m speaking as a Jamaican.

IMF is the modern day incarnation of babylon and yet another imperialist mission into the countries of the Third World. Very few countries that sign IMF deals ever get out of them and stay out of them.

Add to that the fact that through the IMF the powerful countries get policy making power in the so-called developing countries, especially those in the global south. Now, i know some people are thinking ‘dat mek sense, black man cyaan run country, look how Jamaican mash up’, or some variation of that. And there are those among us who would gladly re-welcome the Queen because her Majesty and her kind are much better at fiscal affairs than negroes. You know what, fair enough. Based on what you see, I can see why you would say that.

But what about what you don’t see or don’t remember? First, yu memba when Jamaican did stop focus pon growing banana and sugar and start deal wid alumina and bauxite cus di world say industrialisation? Yu remember when a whole heap a farrin money did invest inna Jamaica and we start depend pon di money fi carry we? Yu memba how di heap a farrin money and di fact say we start depend pon it did mean say we haffi play all kinda nice wid di farrin country dem lest dem cripple we by withdrawing? Yu memba dat? Farrin involvement inna we country and we lose sovereignty ova we own decision making. Who fault? Partly us, di govament go follow up everybody else wid di industrialisation and figget fi grow local industry while dem a dweet. Is a trend weh a go haunt we. But di odda side of it is di farrin companies were all too happy to come down here and take our local resources for their personal gain, yu tink we mek half a di money offa red dirt weh dem mek a sell di finished product? NO. If dis nuh bun yu yet, think bout di Garmex freezone. Yu tink we mek half a di money offa sewing sleeve and button weh dem mek offa selling Tommy Hilfiger finished product. NO. But the Caribbean is a place weh yu can pay likkle, get nuff, and den tun roun sell it back to dem and dem will buy it, and dem govament will mek it gwaan, partly because on top of other things, the government does not have the support of the people nor are they accountable to the people. The people depend on the government too much but also they watch them to see if they will fail so they can turn around and cuss them for not doing their jobs. And you wonder why ‘black people can’t lead’.

So all a dis gwaan now and we jus reach independence. Independence come and di two party dem set up, but nuttn never change. We never decolonise we thinking, we did still have di same attitude dem from before independence and to be honest di new leader dem did carry some a di backra massa attitude wid dem. So it was still all about power, only instead a it clearly being black vs white it became black vs brown. Den wah happen, oil prices spike. All a fi we money a come from one place so we nuh have no likkle buffer. So wah, Manley go to di bauxite people dem and say hey, more money, caw we have bills fi pay. Bauxite people say but yu bright likkle black bwoy! a try tell big First World country weh fi do? yu stink! And dem leff. Nuh only dem leff, dem spread it say Jamaica unstable so odda people start leff too. So why Jamaica unstable? 1) Manley did a push Federation. I am not PNP but I am pro-Jamaican and pro- Caribbean Regional Integration, I am also pro-poor people,  and pro-actual independence, pro-decolonization. What was so wrong with the idea that the Caribbean should turn its eyes inwards, look to ourselves instead of out. Yes, some tings never good wid plan, but what was so offensive about it? What was wrong with it is it would have taken away some of the First World’s power over us, and they don’t like it. A ‘black’ nation trying to stand on its own two feet, a Third World nation trying to make its on its own, is unstable because the people in it have an idea that they are equal, that they are good enough, that maybe they are stable by themslves. And these ideas will make them feel they can talk back to the big countries in the North. This is a problem when the Third World country is where the First World countries rape and pillage for raw material, get cheap labour, get a ghetto slam, test out new medications, set up their torture chambers. When these Third World countries get the idea that they are OK without the First World then the First World loses something they need: the ability to take and take and never give back. So, YES, declare the country unstable. Take your support. Cripple the country. And make their leader an example for any other uppity n*gger who would ever try to side with his own kind over bowing before the First World again. And what happened on top of it, the country people will turn against him, since they too are accustomed to being mommy’d and daddy’d by the First World and are very comfortable with it. So now, the government can’t win, and the First World looking like a better option to come lead our countries again. Everybody fly out. Brain drain lick, some a fi we brightest people gone go build fi dem country. Crime rate a rise. And so it goes.

We still nuh sign di first IMF deal yet. But we will. Election will run and IMF deal will sign. Austerity measures a go lick fus, not even tin milk deh pon di shelf. One last try. People even more frustrated. IMF a go sign. Neoliberalization under IMF mean what? Freeing up yu market. Dem mean free up market fi trade within the region?  Nuh really. So wah dat mean? Farrin good can come through.  Regional goods will never as cheap as farrin goods because farrin set up shop inna Third World countries like Jamaica weh dem basically use we as slave labour fi mek di same products dem tun roun sell back to we. So freeing up a market always benefit dem more dan anybody else. And memba say as a part a di cut inna government spending, agriculture tek a lick so wah…fi we farmer dem cyaan compete wid di farrin goods, dem nuh have di backitive agen. Even when we a do we internal trading, a imported goods we a trade so once again, di oil prices a kill we off. Deal after deal after deal. Poverty increase because of the IMF, and again, people lose faith in the government. Dis prove it! Black people cannot lead! On top of it the populace never properly prepared fi di new kinda market, so dem nuh know how fi function. Hustlin and crime rise.

Wah again? The likkle trade agreement weh we did have wid di European Union, dem lick dat weh because USA waan access to di market. Dem flood fi we market wid fi dem goods but still nah free up fi we. Better yet dem mek fi we agriculture industry dead and tun roun start grow crops di way we used to grow crops and a sell it at 15 times di price say it organic. And on and on it goes. Now it come to a point, di country nuh have no money, so dem waan black list yu now. Govament fool like all di rest, dem only know how fi put out hand too. But a nuh jus di fool dem fool, dem inna a sticky situation because of international fren and company business. On top of everything else, di IMF acts like a big brother organization for the countries with agreements. Dat is to say, even though yu nuh have money, if yu have a IMF deal people will do business wid yu because IMF basically say nuh worry man, we will keep a eye pon dem. So govement kinda stuck.

And see we yah, right back a di beginning. Di likkle ‘black’ country wid di farrin masters a give an eye pon dem. And we still a run it down, we waan di watchful eyes a di master because we never learn/nuh waan learn/too fraid fi look fi weself. And we never learn fi whistle and ride, tek di IMF money but gwaan develop fi we local tings same time so dem can contribute to di economy and hopefully help we pay off di loan. And yu know di worse part, half a di people dem weh coulda help do dis, gone work inna farrin land and di odda half inna di country so frustrated dem nuh interested fi do nuttn. See we yah.

Yu know a nuh dis me did intend fi write. Me did intend fi write bout di newspaper article dem bout di new tax packages and how it write inna gibberish weh normal people cyaan undastand. But dis mussi did deh inna me soul.

A few tings come up over and over agen. 1) international over involvement in local affairs and our willingness to let them be so involved. 2)poor decision making on the part of the government 3)over reliance on the government by locals 4)no accountability required from the government by locals, we leff dem fi do wah ever dem waan do so longs goat run come election time 5)no support for the government, we leff dem fi sink or swim and kinda hope dem sink so we can cuss dem 6)persistent racist thinking among locals that maintains that black people cannot lead.

Is a lot of things, and some may seem to conflict, but Jamaica has always been a complex place to live and to lead. If you look at it closely it all goes back to the plantation.

I don’t know what are the ways forward, or even what to suggest. I do know all these big words and fancy financial talk in the paper not doing nuttn fi help people understand nuttn and we still nuh know weh kinda wickedness a come fi we. But this is where we are today, and have been for a while.

 

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12 Replies to “about the IMF and how it’s nothing new… and me and you a part a di problem”

  1. i tend to not really follow up politics cause it all seem confusing and to me they all come in like the man dem whe sweet talk the giddy girl dem, wen belly come dem no know u. jamaica “breed” how much time now and cant get nuttin from the “fada”. what i want to know is when the government is caught doing wrong who do we complain to? who goin to be the hand of justice? i was surprised (not really) to find out the the light bulb thing still in court. why? america catch buju a talk to man bout cocaine, not sure if any payment was made but see him deh lock up n a serve time already. why a simple ting like the light bulb dem still in court. we to short minded, everybody wha eat a food but nobody no wha cook. everybody wha hype say dem get kfc n laff after who go run boat den dem same one come later a ask if no dumpling lef back cause dem kfc done. jamaica needs to stop looking on how things going to work today and look at how it going to work next year when we really start feeling the consequences of our actions

  2. You couldn’t have said it any better. The harsh reality is that Jamaica has it’s natural resources. They country do so lot more than the leaders realize. I really cannot come to terms with the ideology of wanting to sign an IMF agreement. In addition, this whole stipulation of getting a reduced debt rate puzzles. Of course it must come at an expense. I see markets crumbling in places like even Cyprus, which throughout the years have had a pretty stable market (if you know what I mean). There are other places such as America which along with Canada are still suffering from the after-effects of recession. The reality is, if these countries are giants and are having their very own backlash, how the hell in blue crosses will Jamaica benefit from their assistance. As far I am concerned something’s got to give… There is always a catch. Jamaica has over 2.7 million people for such a small country. I think the leaders simply has forgotten what any countries biggest resources are. Maybe the leaders need to stop bickering with each other and put them to use! After all they( the leaders) are getting some nice fat paycheck and let’s not forget that wonderful pension package of theirs, which is almost always guaranteed.

  3. the ppl leave to government to do wat they want because wen we see them doing wrong and we cuss n gwaan bad the ppl who supposed to be looking out for us just pretend like say they doing something n later on charges drop n the accused is back on the street (like dem did ever lock up in the first place). the system too corrupt all a dem a fren n wen dem get caught dem just draw it out till ppl figet bout it, look at kern, the light bulb things till in court

  4. Thanks fi dis! I been saying from time..why would we not secretly build and support local since the first agreement so we can have an economic and practical response to our problems? The problem with this post is that the average Jamaican living in Jamaica is not nearly as engaged with the results of colonialism and racism on the day-to-day running of the country. The other issue is that Jamaicans (cause mi can ongle speak from experience) are a forgetful lot, either wi block it out from trauma or we have political dementia. You summarized much here and in accessible language we need to posit a solution now, cause speaking as one who live a farin mi waan guh back a yaard and mi ready fi plant if a dat it tek cause wi still have whole heapa land to work wid and mi tiyad a play this game of building yet another nation while fi wi likkle peice get stolen from under wi foot (long sentence? long talk? long suffering?)…

    1. precisely! is like when we granny did tell we fi whistle and ride we never hear hear har
      do weh IMF say and do we ting same time!
      and no. we arent’ nearly as concerned wid di lingering impact of slavery and colonialism as we shoould be
      we tink because most a we black its okay
      it nuh okay
      chile, i doan know di solution yet
      me a gwaan chew

  5. Reblogged this on Well Read Robyn and commented:
    It’s an excellent read, but in case you just want the summary: it’s about neocolonialism, and how the IMF is a modern-day slave master. How our own stereotypes, racism and backra massa mentality are messing up the running of our country, and just how much the IMF is about to seriously eff up our economy.

  6. Thank you,Thank you Carla for this informative piece on Jamaica. I am of Jamaican heritage and have an interest in the island. I agree, the systems have remained the same after independence. They didn’t help the people before independence so it was never going to serve them after. The big boys can still come in and order Jamaica about because they know we have no other choice but to agree. I believe the minds of the people have to change in order for the country to rise to it’s greatness. Thanks for giving the economic history of the country in plain english so we can see how we got to where we are now.

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