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Protecting Returning Residents

Gated-communities

December 12, 2018. Returning Residents are Jamaicans so named because they have lived, worked abroad and have returned home, in some cases to retire, to invest, or to continue working and sharing their many years of experience and expertise. However, after any significant period of time abroad, the process of returning to reside takes planning and requires accurate information before relocating to the land of one’s birth.

Access Jamaica Network, a WhatsApp group, founded by Theo Chambers, marketing guru, was abuzz with posts responding to a video that spread across the social media like wildfire last week (week of Dec. 3, 2018). The video showed an unidentified woman driving a motorcar who faced the camera as she described three murders of returning residents. Appealing to viewers not to return to Jamaica, she rationalized that after working abroad, saving their hard-earned money to buy their dream homes, they could be targeted and killed.

While the woman in the video offered one dire solution to a string of murders of which she mentioned three, the members of Access Jamaica Network offered several solutions some of which are mentioned herein. Returning Residents were dissuaded from returning to their old neighborhoods to build large homes, becoming targets, instead they were encouraged to live in gated communities.  Dr. Marcia Brandon sustainable development entrepreneur who has lived in Barbados and worked in the region for almost 30 years, a daughter of the Jamaican soil, who intends to return home in the near future, agreed with Sharon Oshun Chambers, author & public relations consultant, who called for a peaceful march on Jamaica to bring the returning resident community together and help eliminate fear. Brandon said “mobilize members in all parishes and march on Jamaica to take action; we need our returning residents and there is no way we can just let them be harmed and killed and we sit back and take it”. Chambers suggested a town a town hall meeting, inviting government agencies to help find solutions.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett who frequents the network, shared his insights: “I have been trying to find out what are the underpinning of these killings as they don’t seem random nor perpetuated by strangers! If that is so, then it certainly is both irresponsible and even mischievous to broad brush the nation and make reckless statements like Mr. La Touche…I applaud this group for your enlightened discourses on the matter and I read with an open mind as we seek solutions!”

Tony Rebel (founder of Rebel Salute) interviewed Mr. Percival La Touche, President of the Returning Resident Association, on IRIE FM Radio, Thursday afternoon, December 6, 2018. La Touche spoke passionately about protecting his members from attacks and did not encourage them to return home, saying “It’s not me alone saying that; its coming from Canada, USA and UK.” Rebel showed the pervasive nature of crime in the UK and USA without condoning crime in Jamaica, to show that people were not turning away from those countries, however he was rebuffed by La Touche.  

A recent member of the network, Queen Ifrica, International recording artistè said “the government has to be the force that facilitates the safety of returning residents, they have to be the one to step up, when the Prime Minister goes into the Diaspora his job is to make sure that those with doubts about returning home are reassured and all the stops will be made to make them comfortable to not only come and live and invest, but be safe. They don’t want to encourage the Diaspora to come home! That’s the point to be made. Somebody don’t want the people in the Diaspora who are in positions now to come back.” After carefully listening to Mr. La Touche, President of the Returning Resident Association, Queen Ifrica said “found sympathy with his position, yet she found him confused about the complex issues. She decided however, the matter is one that she could help with an intervention, which should include Mr. La Touche.

Theo Chambers posted shining accolades about our paradise home “Community tourism is alive, reggae music, world class hotels & tourism attractions; Airbnb are putting money into local communities” He then challenged members of the Network to post positive posts about Jamaica every day. He closed his appeal with the words “One love my Jamaican brothers and sisters who know that Jamaica is nothing but Paradise on earth.”

It is for this very reason that Queen Ifrica is encouraging Jamaicans to return home; Jamaica is a paradise with world class amenities, so why are Returning Residents not being encouraged to return home she asks? Who is going to benefit from all the improved tourism infrastructure?  She added her voice to the growing concerns over the safety of Retuning Residents: “So many negative pages in social media to facilitate this lady’s video is circulating. One of the things that we can do is find a way to get into social media with our videos to encourage sharing.” On Facebook 200K views and 900+ shares. It would be wise if we could overshadow the negative with the positive side of Jamaica.  Ifrica will do a Facebook Live and Entertainment Live News to counteract the negative video from taking further traction. Further, she indicated that this Christmas many in the Diaspora were planning to return home in significant numbers and there is someone who do not want them to see what is happening here.

As we stand united in the Network to defend Jamaica, so we should stand in each community and village ready to defend our paradise home. What are you willing to do to protect and defend Jamaica?

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