Jamaica’s Burmese: A Hope for Democracy Back Home

Jamaica’s Burmese community, I am told, is about 300 strong now. When my friend Jo arrived about 18 years ago, there were fewer than 100. Initially drawn by the availability of professional medical jobs in Jamaica (the island suffers from a chronic shortage of highly skilled medical professionals), friends followed friends, and families followed families, and the community is now quite successful.

Recent developments in Burma have sparked new hope for real change back home for this group. Many of them tell me of their support for the National League of Democracy, the political movement of Aung San Suu Kyi, back in the 1980’s, and about how the government violently suppressed the peoples’ calls for more democracy.

Now, for the first time in a long time, the NLD is being allowed to contest elections. Today, Jamaica’s Burmese community held a potluck fundraiser for Suu Kyi and her bid for electoral office in Burma.

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