Throughout most cultural calendars are days that commemorate monumental periods in history that changed the identity of a country in the world. It was Independence Day for Jamaica yesterday.
Whilst many Jamaicans waved their flags and sang patriotic songs with their families, there are still others indifferent to the purpose the day itself serves to their lives.
Some Jamaicans have long argued that although the country achieved official independence on 6 August 1962, successive governments have, through policies and actions, failed to reflect that.
Local media Jamaica Observer North & East asked Jamaicans living in the northern and eastern sections of the island: ‘What does Independence Day mean to you?’
‘It means that we are responsible for ourselves,’ Maisilyn Fuller said. ‘When we became independent it was so nice, but now it seems as if we are going backwards.
‘I was at the National Stadium when we got independence. Yes, I am an old lady; I born 1947. I was happy that day. Everybody was happy. I don’t know, though, if we needed independence though because we are not doing so well,’ Fuller reportedly stated.
‘I don’t celebrate the day’
‘Independence nuh mean much to me,’ Mark Williams said. ‘We’re not independent; we’re always depending on people for things. If we did independent, we would produce more for ourselves.’
‘We wouldn’t haffi import nuff a di basic goods weh we use every day. Mi nuh really a celebrate Monday [6 August]. It just mean she mi nuh have work. Mi just a take di day as a rest day; mi nah really celebrate nothing.
‘Independence Day nuh mean nothing to me. Carlton Henry echoed Williams’ sentiment.
‘It’s a day of spending or celebrating fi all those who celebrate it. Mi nuh really celebrate certain things and this a one of them.
‘That is my philosophy,’ Henry exclaimed. ‘Independence Day just cost people money. That is all. We not independent. We depend on too much other people and country fi be independent,’ Henry continued.
‘My understanding of independence is, and I can be wrong, when you don’t haffi rely ‘pon certain country or depend on people. You can provide for your citizens. That is when you independent and Jamaica nuh deh right deh so right now.’