I was lucky enough to have an excellent education, including my teenage years at Clarendon College. I studied for a year at Imperial College followed by six at University College London, two of the best universities in the world. Nothing would make me happier than realising similar opportunities for some of our children.
It can be done by redirecting the monies spent on oil.
How I found myself back home....
In 2013 I was sick of the unjustified vilification of the poor, austerity, injustices etc. so I left London. The plan was to spend a couple months in Jamaica before heading to the Bay Islands to do voluntary work. Well I didn't get to the Bay Islands because I fell from the proverbial frying pan into the fire.
Jamaica must be one of the best places on earth to live if you are healthy and have enough money to live comfortably. If you are rich, wow.... you can live better than a king! Conversely, it must be one of the worst countries if you are poor. And there are an awful lot of poor folk.
My solar idea....
In 2014 I had the idea of leasing a solar facility at a school. This would save thousands of US dollars every month - cash for books, IT, teachers, etc. The leasing fee would have included payment for the insurance etc and since I don't have children the facility would have been inherited by the school. So I went back to the UK, sold my home to fund the project and returned to the island. I thought I would be fighting off schools! Not in Jamaica.
My home was my pension but getting rental income benefited only myself so this was a fairer solution. I'd get enough to live on, I could employ someone to clean and manage a beach and 2000 students would benefit every year. The project did not transpire - I contacted six schools and at the time of writing they are all on the grid.
I have also contacted two mayors, politicians, the ministry of education, numerous journalists and social commentators without success. Needless to say that this angered me but giving up is not an option. This isn't the fault of young people, they didn't create this Jamaica, the ninth most indebted country in the world.
I have had ups and downs in life but have done okay because of an excellent education. Worldwide we have millions of children that won't realise their potential because of their circumstances. Poverty should not prevent a child from having the best education available, every child should have hope. I hope we can remedy this in Jamaica.
Living here makes me aware of the importance of education. I tried to start an online discussion regarding using renewables to fund education and was greeted with the comment "away with the environmental garbage." The opinion of the man in the street remains that solar panels are prohibitively expensive so Jamaica cannot entertain solar power. As for discussions about waste-to-energy? Well that topic is tantamount to heresy!
No one questions the energy goals of Vision 2030: a fixed target of 30% of our energy from renewables with a paltry figure of 10% from solar.
We need to have a working project to get to the people's consciousness about the possibilities of renewables, their impact on the environment and the economic and social impacts if we do not change.
Jamaica is a lovely little paradise and it should be viewed as such by all, not just the minority and tourists.