A group of disgruntled Caribbean nationals identified as the “Occupy Jamaica” contingent rallied around a popular square in the Kingston capital to show solidarity with the global movement protesting alleged corporate greed and apparent disproportionate services they believe to be prevalent throughout the world.
Led by Betty Ann Blaine, a child advocate and founder of the New Nation Coalition the demonstrators blames “inequities and injustices in the Jamaican society” for the protest.
The Oct. 27 occupation at Half-Way-Tree began early in the day gaining momentum later in the day when demonstrators chained themselves to guard rails positioned under a towering clock at the location — a major median and demarcation junction which allegedly merges the affluent uptown community with the much stigmatized downtown area.
The small group of protesters were united in their effort to show solidarity with the ongoing New York encampment which began when a few individuals staged a sit-in near the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange.
Identifying with the 99 percent movement which emerged in Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street area almost two months ago, they voiced concerns prevalent with disfranchised citizens.
They claimed rising food prices, lack of employment, corruption, inflationary electric bills and poverty are the principal reasons for their public outcry.
“We are definitely in solidarity with the ‘Occupy Wall Street Movement,” Blaine said.
“Some of these other countries where people are protesting they have social safety nets like food stamps and unemployment benefits we don’t have any of those and we are saying enough is enough, the people of this country have been suffering for far too long,”
“If you notice one of my placards say that we can’t buy food, we can’t pay (our) light (bill), that’s not right and we are saying that we are the 99% and we are saying to Jamaica stand up now, wherever you are occupy where you are,” Blaine said.
“The issues are the same, expect in our cases we have bigger problems,” Blaine said.
“We are calling on Jamaicans all over the country to occupy wherever you are, that means stand up and make your voices be heard.”
Protesters carried signs decrying what they consider unfair conditions the majority endures while a minority profits.
One parodied the words of Marcus M. Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero to amplify the mantra he is most known by invoking a call for One God, One Aim, One Destiny.
Others brandished placards saying: “Can’t buy food, can’t pay light – that’s not right,” “Debt – Death,” “One percent do the crime—99 percent pay the fine” “We can’t swagger, Jamaica a stagger” and other damning phrasings.
Blaine warned that the protest would continue until the group got some attention.