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There are many who will argue that Jamaica has achieved some great things ever since it became independent. They’ll talk about the different developments that have taken place, the many schools which have been made, and the infrastructure improvements and additions. However, independence isn’t about infrastructure or making some strides. Independence is about having the power to change and better ourselves. If we truly look at the state of Jamaica right now, it is hard to see how independence helped, or if we ever really achieved independence at all. The poverty, the lack of growth and opportunities, and the crime does not paint a rosy picture of our future.

One doesn’t have to rely on anecdotes or feelings to see how bad things are; the facts and figures tell you the same thing. Jamaica’s Gini Coefficient (a tool used to measure income inequality) is 45.5, a very high number. There is a 15% difference in expectancy of life based on income. That means that on average rich people live 15% longer than poor people due to the stark difference in medical and monetary support available to the poor. We are still hoping that the IMF will come bail us. Our dependency on oil and bauxite has made us beggars in front of the international community.

The British might have left but that doesn’t mean Jamaica is free. Simply look at the amount of wealth that our rulers have, not just of any one party but of all parties. Our current prime minister is making a $250 million mansion in Beverley Hills. The leaders before him have been similarly rich. Why do we keep allowing people with links to corruption and crime become the biggest authorities in our country? Independence didn’t help Jamaica because independence never came to Jamaica. We are still enslaved, except that slavers these days have the same nationality as us.

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