THE EDITOR, Sir:
I CONGRATULATE Delano Seiveright on knocking down a great fallacy that is being foisted on the Jamaican people. These people claim that Michael Manley is the most visionary and transformational leader in Jamaica’s history. This is not true.
My father, a black man from humble beginnings, owned and operated a small but profitable wholesale and a very small factory in Kingston since the early 1960s. It is that wholesale and very small factory that sent my four siblings and I to school and maintained our house in Meadowbrook.
‘fi we time now’
In 1972, Michael Manley captured the imagination of countless Jamaicans, including my parents, who both voted for him. Two to three years after Mr Manley took office, all hell broke loose. They said, “Socialism is love,” yet my father’s wholesale was constantly raided by men claiming that it is “fi we time now” and that “people like unnu a fight poor people”.
My father, a philanthropist at heart, resisted on two occasions and was subjected to physical and verbal assault. The police were nonchalant, and instead demanded that we give more ‘free’ supplies to the nearby station.
I watched as my father’s business crumbled before our eyes and the economy sank into despair and chaos under the government’s reckless economic policies and actions.
In 1977, after gunmen invaded our home and attempted to sexually assault my mother and 14-year-old sister while boasting that “a fi we time now”, my dad locked shop, sold the house and we all migrated.
After visiting last month, it was a crying shame to see the ramshackle state of the area where my dad’s wholesale and small factory were located. I was also disgraced at how Meadowbrook has lost its appeal.
My sister, who braved it and returned to Jamaica in the 1990s, was gobbled up by extortion and FINSAC. She has since remigrated to Canada. My father went on to build a successful business in Canada, employing 12 persons.
Jamaica was devastated by Michael Manley’s government and the facts outlined by Mr Seiveright are there for all to see. The truth needs to be told and repeated every day.