I grew up with Chinese shopkeepers. Born Jamaicans. My best friend was a Chinese Jamaican until the day she died.
I am not talking about Chinese Jamaicans, for they are Jamaicans. I am talking about the influx of those from China, who neither speak English, nor care to, who have somehow arrived on the Rock and have a gut deep racism that is beyond words.
At Halfway Tree Court, on ONE DAY there were two different Chinese men charged for kicking up Jamaican women. Women who either were employees or customers.
When I say ‘kick up’ I don’t mean a bruise on the shin, I mean hospitalisation with broken bones.
These are not the only Chinese men charged for these offenses, almost every day there is a case like this. The man, hiring a more pricey lawyer, needing a translator, who runs a business in Kingston. The woman, poor, either taking an under paid job to serve in the shop or a higgler trying to make a purchase.
Having been involved in one case of this nature, I have become extremely sensitive to what my African friends have called “invasions”.
In many African countries, somehow, Chinese have arrived and somehow got work permits or residency and opened businesses.
The experience of Africans is being duplicated in Jamaica.
In Africa, and now Jamaica, these businesses often operate slightly outside of the law. That is when they don’t operate totally outside of the law.
They sell cigarettes which are knock offs of real brands. These inferior items are put into what seems to be standard packs. They sell detergents which are of the lowest possible quality and, of course, made in China.
In fact, many items in their shops are counterfeit products. This is often only learned when the police make one of their rare incursions.
Rare, because somehow, these immigrants have a kind of ‘free pass’.
Right now, in Jamaica, the Chinese are building roads. Most of the workers are brought from China. Locals are often protesting outside of the gates. They protest because they are either underpaid, were fired to make space for immigrants, or whatever laws exist for others, do not seem to be enforced against the Chinese boss.
The other day I did a funny kind of investigation of businesses in the Central part of Kingston going up to the more prestigious areas.
Many business were run by Chinese; not locals, foreign, who couldn’t speak English, had an unpleasant manner.
The Consumer Affairs Commission can list complaints in which the item was purchased from one of these businesses, proved to be defective, and money was not returned. The difficulty in getting refunds is legend.
With a known ‘track record’ what is the Jamaican government thinking?