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Independence on screen

August 11, 2012 | by Lee-Ayesha Antwi |

As the celebration for Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago 50 begin; I began my search for a film which concentrated on the theme of ‘independence’. 
I have always loved the ability a film has to capture a country at a politically important time and acts like a time capsule for researchers like me. So after a few days I came across two films life and debt (2001: Jamaica ) and Bim (1973: Trinidad and Tobago)Bim is a made up story about a young ‘coolie’ boy living in Trinidad & Tobago and his life just before the country becomes independent from the British government. There are some concerns that the country would be ‘taken over’ by the black inhabitants of the island.
And then I watched ‘Life and debt’ a ‘docu-film’ which commented on the newly independent Jamaica. By seeking independence from Britain islands like Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago wanted to make their own way and begin strengthening their own economy I was shocked to learn at the ways in which the island has been made to suffer as a result of debt, poverty and lack of opportunity. It was lovely to see the Jamaican people, so proud of their lands which produce ripe bananas, carrots and potatoes. A country that relies heavily on its agriculture was no longer able to export goods in order to boost its own economy but instead; over taken by American importation of goods.  Thankfully, even though Jamaica has been a dealt a lot of short hands in the complicated world of political economy. Jamaica and other Caribbean islands happily welcome and serve a whole host of tourists into their country to take in the natural beauty that surrounds them: completely unaware of the un-told stories by its people.
Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago have a lot to smile about, both countries have growing film industries and music industries that they should be proud of. As well as this great sportsmen and women that gracefully represents them. 
For an in-depth and heart felt look at the economic history if Jamaica, Life and debt, is most certainly the one-to-watch.
Until the 25th August the Trinidad & Tobago High Commission is celebrating 50 years of independence with many free events!
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