Despite being blessed with an abundance of natural and human resources, it boggles the mind to think that the majority of Jamaicans continue to suffer from the ill effects of a weak economy and poverty. I am now convinced that there is a deliberate effort to keep Jamaicans in a state of ignorance in order to allow for continued corruption and misappropriation of resources by some in government and private sector leadership. This is clearly a strategy that is working, and unfortunately, many unsuspecting innocent by-standers have been tricked into adding to this divisive and destructive cycle. The most painful part of this all is that a great deal of the ignorance and mis-information that is spread among us has been fueled by non Jamaicans who attach themselves to things Jamaican for personal gain and a false perception of credibility.
I can speak with accuracy and authority on this subject as it relates to our entertainment sector, where I have spent over 25 years working on various private and state initiatives designed to educate, empower and equip talented individuals to compete more effectively in the global market. I do not need to list the various projects and initiatives I have either started or tried to help get properly structured. I think my efforts have been adequately documented and publicized over the years, locally and internationally.
What has not been widely publicized however is the fact that, despite the existence of all the necessary empirical evidence to the contrary, there are persons in the Jamaican music industry who have been lead to believe that the initiatives I participated in were designed solely to create personal enrichment and provide benefits for me at the expense of the nation’s tax-payers. The reality is; nothing could be further from the truth. The industry developmental initiatives I have participated in have for the most part been executed with tremendous personal financial sacrifice.
I think we all agree that our music is one of the most valuable resources we possess. My experience however shows that the majority of individuals operating in the Jamaican music industry operate from a position of ignorance. They are ignorant with regard to their rights and who is best equipped to represent them. Most are also ignorant with regard to what is required to properly structure their businesses and the industry, as well as about the real costs to provide necessary support services. While we have done very well on the international stage, the number of Jamaican participants in the music industry who really have a successful business is way too small, and the benefits to the overall economy much less than it should be.
My advice is. Don’t believe the hype, and don’t judge the book by the cover. We need to read more carefully, think outside the box, talk less and do more. Most of all; we must be very careful of those who profess to be experts but cannot provide evidence of either qualifications or a track record of accomplishments.