The Panama Connection

panama.jpgThe last time I heard the phrase from Wacky kill Phillup, I wasn’t in Jamaica or even around Jamaicans–I was in Panama. Many Jamaicans and other Caribbeanites went to Panama to work in the building of the canal in the early part of the last century. The descendants of those workers have kept alive many of the traditions and customs that were brought to the canal zone. Fueled by revenues from the canal, Panama looks prosperous and progressive. There is a building boom: skyscrapers dot the downtown skyline. Donald Trump is building a tower there. Americans, especially retirees, are flocking to the place in droves as the country has rolled out the red carpet to attract them. Driving around Panama city, I saw one sign that would ease any retiree’s worries about living outside the US: a hospital with the words “a subsidiary of John Hopkins University Hospital.” Overall, I had a wonderful time connecting with relatives and meeting members of this less publicized segment of the Diaspora. Interestingly, many of these descendants had never been to Jamaica but sounded as if they had just landed from Kingston or Mobay. Jamaica would do well to copy some of Panama’s marketing strategies.

5 thoughts on “The Panama Connection

  1. You lost me, buddy. I mean, I assume I get what youre saying. I have an understanding of what you are saying, but you just appear to have overlooked that you can find some other persons inside the world who view this issue for what it definitely is and may possibly not agree with you. You may well be turning away a lot of men and women who might have been followers of your web log.

  2. Hello,

    Does Panama have an archive of records of workers, from other countries including Jamaica, who worked on the original construction of the Panama Canal?
    I am searching for any evidence of my grandfather who it is believed went to Panama to work on the canal. I would be most grateful if you could direct me to such a place if it exists in Panama, or to any other place where I could make further inquiries. Thank you.


    Cleve L. Parkins
    Tel: 516-486-0085
    Email: [email protected]

  3. Lost? Not clear where “educational consulting” is lost. It’s ok to disagree but, to be taken seriously, you have to be specific. Panama remains a developing country with many of the challenges that confronts such countries. Nothing in this story would cause me to turn away from the blogger.

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