As Jamaica approaches 50 years of independence, a new poll suggests a majority of the island’s citizens would actually prefer British rule.
These are the findings of the Jamaican Gleaner, a national newspaper that published results of its survey on how citizens felt about their governance and quality of life. According to the responses from the 1,008 participants, many of Jamaicans have a nostalgia for the “good old days.”
The breakdown looks like this:
Of the 1,008 Jamaicans surveyed, 60 per cent held the view the country would be better off under British rule.
Conversely, 17 per cent of those surveyed said the country would be worse off had it remained a colony of Britain, while 23 per cent said they did not know. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent.
There’s no doubt that part of this long live the queen sentiment is linked to Jamaica’s struggles with crime and corruption. A large faction of the country’s voters believe sitting Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his Jamaican Labor Party government is corrupt, even though the country has climbed 12 spots up on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.
Still, as poverty increases on the island, many say the government is to blame for ignoring Jamaica’s poor and turning a blind eye to drug lords, such as Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke who many believed supported the JLP for years though money laundering up until his violent extradition to the U.S. last year.
The poll seems to be a case of remembering only the good not the bad. The Jamaican struggle for independence came to a close in 1962 though officially the Queen of England remains the head of state. Many lawmakers are pushing to replace the Queen in favor of a republican system before the country celebrates its 50th year anniversary of independence. Speaking during the budget debate in the House of Representatives, Golding was quoted as saying:
“I have long believed that if I am to have a queen, it must be a Jamaican queen. I would not wish to see us celebrate 50 years of Independence without completing that part of our ‘sovereignisation’, for want of a better word.”
Still, the troubling conditions on the island remain the biggest obstacle to making the split from the crown official. Unfortunately, if the latest polling serves as any indication, Jamaica’s citizens trust their own leadership less than the rule of a foreign hand.