Today’s Editorial August 04: Independence Day for Jamaica

On Wednesday, Jamaicans everywhere will celebrate their country’s independence.

It’s not something that was intended.

The country slowly began increasing its independence from the Mother Country – the United Kingdom – a few years earlier when it decided to become a province in the federation of the West Indies. That was to become a federation among all the British West Indies, but it never happened.

Jamaica found itself with full independency when it left the federation in 1962.

On Friday we saw thousands of Jamaicans and others celebrate that independency in downtown George Town.

The actual date for independency for Jamaica is 6 August.

We’ve dug up a bit of history and colour from our neighbouring country and have included it in our Tuesday newspaper. Please take a few moments out of your day and read our special feature about Jamaica, its colourful history and its people.

When Jamaica decided on independency, the Cayman Islands decided to divorce itself from the country that had been tied to it for so many generations.

In doing so, we chose to keep our ties with the United Kingdom, which is now insisting that we modernise our constitution.

Some in our midst are claiming that it is time for independence, as Jamaica chose to do in 1962.

While it is good to celebrate Jamaica’s independence, we cannot overlook the worries that have plagued that country since it became a nation unto itself.

What we have seen transpire in Jamaica over the years is an increase in crime; so much so that it has had one of the highest murder rates in the world for many years, usually only third after Colombia and South Africa according to the United Nations. In 2005 Jamaica had 1.674 murders for a murder rate of 64.10 per 100,000 people making it the highest murder rate in the world at the time.

There are many Jamaicans that have ties with us in the Cayman Islands and for the most part, we know them to be a kind and genteel people.

Many Caymanians were born in Jamaica and still have family on the nearby island.

Although Jamaica earned its independence in 1962, it is still a struggling country and those of us who cry for independence for Cayman must study and watch.

Many people in our own country have said that independence for us is going to come eventually.

We have a wonderful opportunity in our own backyard to see how independence can or can’t work.

To our Jamaican friends here and abroad, happy Independence Day.