#Imagine Jamaica, through the lens of Romea

Romea

Dear readers, I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Romea Sillane and I am a student at the University of Bradford. I am currently studying Applied Criminal Justice Studies at the grand old age of 44. My son is aged 19 and is studying Law in Manchester, it was our plan to study together. Although I miss him very much I am very proud that he has an ambition to become a barrister.

Jamaica is a beautiful island which is situated in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean and is the home of my family roots. The island was originally called Xaymaca which means ‘land of wood and water’ or ‘land of wood and springs’. Jamaica is the most inspirational place that I know. The original inhabitants of Jamaica were the ‘Arawak’s’ who came from South America 2500 years ago. My grandmother was an Arawak and told many tales to my mother of her family history.

My memories of visiting the island as a child are full of the wonderful aroma’s and sounds which encapsulate the very essence of this beautiful island. The food is absolutely wonderful, seasonings such as pimento, cayenne, curry powder amongst many, define the authentic taste of Jamaican food. Jamaican people are strong in spirit and have a very close bond to God even if some of them do not live a wholesome lifestyle. Sunday morning is undisputedly reserved for ‘service’, however, although this strong essence of community and Christianity resides in Jamaica, there is much unrest amongst some of the citizens.

The high murder rates in Jamaica continue to be a problem for the Jamaican government. Kingston, the capital, is renowned for its high murder figures. Political friction always appears to be just centimetres from the surface; the late great ‘Bob Marley’ was the victim of an assassination attempt in the ‘70’s’ due to his desire to bring the two main political leaders of that time; Michael Manley and Edward Seaga together in harmony.  Ironically politics and dancehall are closely entwined and often the music played by each sound system reflects which political party it supports. This can sometimes occur during voting time. Often gunshots are heard being fired into the night.

Dancehall music and its musicians and followers play a huge part in the violence that prevails in Jamaica. Jamaican music acts as a huge influence and is renowned all over the world.  In the Jamaican shanty towns it is not unusual to hear it being played in the market places.

For my beautiful country I would love to see harmony and positivity between the communities. I have not visited for a long time as I worry that I may get caught up in the conflict that is a frequent possibility depending on which area I reside in when I visit. This fact is a shame for me as I would love to soak up the positive energy and essence that the island gives. I hope to see the day when the violence is lessened and the island is in a much more harmonious position. Jamaica will always be the land of my forefathers and most importantly, the land that I love!

***

Meeting Romea this year has really inspired me, I wrote a post on her How late is late. No doubt she’s a great woman, the world indeed is waiting for her manifestation.

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