Thursday, July 22, 2004

Ja: Offshore U.S. embassy, says RBWB

The residents of Bamboo Avenue and adjoining areas in the Liguanea area of St Andrew are incensed that the US embassy is being relocated there. They have pointed to the fact that US embassies all over the world have been attacked by terrorists. An attack on the US embassy, if relocated to Bamboo Avenue, could affect the entire area of thousands of feet to the north, south, east and west, which includes schools, the universities and several residents.

In his piece in the Sunday Observer of July 18, John Maxwell wrote that he is being saluted in supermarkets, pharmacies and on the streets by people who previously disliked his stance on the USA. All of a sudden Maxwell has found himself unwittingly the champion of a cause that is backed by members of the upper middle class. And it is not Maxwell who has changed, but an offensive position is now directed at a section of the Jamaican upper middle class, causing them to change.

And John Maxwell has set me thinking of an idea that may never be used and might even be derided. The fact is that wherever the embassy is placed in Jamaica, it will pose a security threat with what has been happening since 9/11. The Americans themselves recognise this, which is why they decided not to go ahead and turn the old Crown Plaza Hotel in Constant Spring into their embassy.

Now, with all the little islands off the coast of Jamaica, why not place the US embassy on one of them? Many of us have spoken about relocating the prisoners to one of the islets off the coast. Those in favour of casino gambling have also suggested "offshore gambling". So why not an offshore US embassy?

You might say that such an idea is impractical. How would one transact business with the embassy, such as the regular-seeking of a US visa? There is an easy solution to that. It would be nothing for the US government to make available a boat with offices aboard that could sail into Jamaica's harbours to transact such business. Indeed, rural residents might no longer need to travel to Kingston to seek a US visa because, if the embassy officials have a generous spirit, they could sail around the island in such a way that they visit every parish for two or three days in each month.
He's got some butt-kissing of the local Roman Church archbishop, and he drifts off course from his topic, but that's how rude bwoy without balls (RBWB) Michael Burke writes.

So, let's consider his idea. Jamaicans want to come to the U.S., but they don't want to be killed by terrorists attracted to a U.S. embassy in their midst. So, the U.S. government, in order to accommodate Jamaicans' reasonable fear of terrorists and unwillingness to die with Americans, ought, according to RBWB Burke, to set up an embassy on one of the offhsore islands and use a boat to bring the highly prized U.S. visa to Jamaicans around the island.

Now, if the Americans follow RBWB's inspired suggestion, hopefully the terrorists will have the wit to blow up the embassy when no Jamaicans are around, after working hours, for example. No doubt, if such an event were to happen, Jamaicans would lament the loss of American life, perhaps, but would rejoice because the U.S. was considerate enough to situate the embassy so that there would only be American casualties. Such a relocation, no doubt, would do much to soothe the fears of upper middle class Jamaicans. It's one thing to be blown up in the U.S., after all, there's all that gorgeous money to be had, a la 9/11 funds; however, it's another thing to be blown up in Jamaica while going for a visa. Who're folks going to sue? Just so. There's no point in dying if your heirs can't capitalize on it.

Remember, RBWB's idea is a two-parter. First, get the Americans out of our midst; second, let the Americans come to us so we can have more convenient access to visas to enter the U.S. How will this happen, you ask? Well, since an offshore embassy will be inconvenient for Jamaicans to get to, then it's up to the U.S. to bring the embassy to them. Therefore, not only will the U.S. government provide a structure off-shore, but it will cough up the change for a boat that could touch harbors around the island. In this way, rural residents won't have too much trouble to get that prized U.S. visa.

But, suppose terrorists blow up the boat while it's in port? Isn't that the point of terrorism, to kill the maximum numbers of people? Wouldn't the U.S. embassy still be amongst the locals? Wouldn't the risk be just as great ... after all, who knows what kinds of vessels with what kinds of cargo could be in port.

One sense that RBWB imagines that, hopefully, the terrorists will realize that Jamaicans don't want to die with Americans and will arrange to blow up the boat while its asea. That way, Jamaican visa-seekers can regret the loss of the boat and its crew but console themselves that the terrorists had no quarrel with Jamaicans but only wanted to kill Americans.

Look, I never said the guy could think too well. Anyway, what RBWB needs to do is go back to the drawing board and come up with another idea that does not make Jamaicans look like castrati.

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