Jamaica is now in a peculiar position. She has come to the fork in the road, she can go left, go right, or she can pave her own path and go straight ahead.
She can ride with China, she can ride with the United States, or she can ride for self. As much as riding for self sounds good, it just wouldn’t work in this new global world that we are living in. Not only that, but for a country like Jamaica to go for self the way Michael Manley envisioned would require discipline and sacrifice that would be almost impossible to get from many Jamaicans.
So will Jamaica be riding with China or the United States? Many Jamaicans are happy that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, came and visit their little island. Many might not understand the main reason for the visit however. The main reason for Obama’s visit is to pull Jamaica away from grip of China and more towards the United States.
China has been building new roads in Jamaica as well as repairing existing roads as part of a $1.5 billion investment in the country. This effort has provided a lot of jobs in Jamaica where the unemployment rate is listed as 15% but is actually closer to 50%. About all America has done for Jamaica is allowing Jamaicans to come to America and work in their hotel industry for minimum wage. Of course Jamaicans like citizen of any other country can also apply for a permanent visa (green card) to live and work in America as long as they like.
So the bottom line is; China has created jobs in Jamaica. America allows Jamaicans to come and work in America. The advantages and the disadvantages of these scenarios are what the Jamaican Government will have to consider as they decide whether China or America will have the most influence in Jamaica.
Whichever road the Jamaican Government chooses to travel, they must put a bigger emphasis on farming and less on tourism. Jamaicans are such proud people; it is difficult to fathom why they would choose cleaning up after other people in hotels over farming their own land.