An astounding amount of Jamaicans who worked in professional fields on the island have left to live in North America since 2008.
According to a report by the Observer, the number of professionals opting to leave total over 1,100 each year since 2008 when the when the global financial crisis started.
It’s somewhat reassuring to know that not all professionals in Jamaica have the desire to flee for “greener pastures”.
Here is what Dennis Chung – President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica said in the same report:
“I have a love for Jamaica [and] I think Jamaica is the best place in the world to live” .”Where else in the world you can go and the society is so warm? Where else in the world you can go in your back yard and pick some Julie mangoes and ackee?”
“I would rather stay in my country and fix my country rather than stay outside and help to criticise it,” he said. “Everything is not just about having a lot of money, quality of life is a lot more important than that.
“People take simple things for granted, like the fact that you can walk down the road and see Usain Bolt or pay $1,000 and hear all the vintage artiste sing, when people aborad have to pay up to US$100 to see three of them perform.”
In accounting for the experiences of some of his colleagues who left for the North, the PSOJ CEO said, “One or two of them have done well, but for the most part a lot of them are not really living the life that they thought they would be living (in Jamaica).”
Chung said that “people have called me and said that they are trying to come back to Jamaica and get a job because it is so difficult up there”.
He reckons that the transition is far from a ‘bed of roses’ because a lot of people don’t have the support base that they would have back home.
“Had some of them been back in Jamaica where they have a solid base and work smart, not hard, they could have actually made it,” .
He believes that the level of brain drain is largely resultant of the lack of transformative leadership in Jamaica, the issue of crime and the cumbersome and restrictive effect of the Jamaican bureaucracy.
We want to know your views. If given the opportunity – would you hesitate to move to “greener pastures”? Let us know in the comments.
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