“32 Kids and Counting” Exposes Jamaica’s Widening Economic Gap

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“32 Kids and Counting” Exposes Jamaica’s Widening Economic Gap

Did you see the touching story about Annmarie Richards, a woman who has taken in 32 homeless, abused and otherwise shattered youth and raised them as her own?

As the video of Annmarie’s story goes viral on the internet, we have to look at the underlying causes of the conditions that made her bold action necessary.

Despite what people are shown on television about Jamaica being the land of “don’t worry, be happy,” out of a population of 2.7 million people, a whopping 1.1 million people live below the poverty line and this number is steadily growing (The Gleaner, March 2014).

This is despite the fact that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been on the rise for the last couple of years, according to TradingEconomics.com, with tourism leading the pack as the top revenue producer for the country.

Jamaica is also the sixth largest producer of the bauxite in the world; the mineral used to manufacture aluminum, which is the most used metal next to steel.

There is no reason that the population should be experiencing these levels of poverty, aside from the fact that it is entrenched in a relationship with the World Bank and IMF, which are agents of imperialism that serve to rescue capitalism at the expense of African and other oppressed people by undermining the economies of colonized countries.

This process ushers in widespread poverty and destitution with its policies of repayment and debt. The tourism industry also plays a huge role in siphoning millions of dollars out of Jamaica’s economy because it is dominated by U.S. and European-owned hotel chains.

This does not absolve the responsibility of the neocolonial petty bourgeoisie in Jamaica that serves the interest of capitalism and allows for the continued exploitation of both human and natural resources.

We have to look at the attempt by humanitarian/philanthropic organizations to make a name for themselves by calling for people to watch a video 50,000 times by April 10 in order for them to donate a computer lab.

Why not just donate the lab in obscurity?

This is an example of the bankrupt parasitic nature of charity as the way to solve the problems of the poor by providing short term solutions without calling into question the role that capitalism plays in creating the conditions that they highlight in their stories.

The fact remains that Annmarie will continue to be a salvation for a handful of youth in need—but until parasitic capitalism is destroyed—the poverty, destitution and powerless of the masses will never see an end.

That is why it is necessary to expose charity schemes and organize to truly solve our the problems that African people contend with. The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) is the organization that is leading on this critical question and we call on Africans who want to contribute their skills and labor to solving these problems, to become members and work with us to make it happen.