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Is That Even Legal?

One thing if have found myself asking, no matter where we have been on this trip, is “is that even legal?” After becoming more accustomed to the different lifestyle of Jamaica there are still certain things I wonder why how they can do this. One thing I asked Dr. Egan on the first day was about property ownership. When exploring the jungle area by the plantation we came across an area where four families lived and farmed, but no one else was around. I didn’t understand how they had gotten there and wondered if they even owned that land. In the United States we are very explicit on ownership of property and payment of property taxes, and squatting isn’t usually taken kindly too. I learned Jamaica is not that way; many people just settle and set up a place wherever they want and aren’t stopped. When at Portland we saw this again with men just living in tents on public beaches. As we drove through the Blue Mountains we also saw random ¬†houses all over – in places where people really wouldn’t know if you were there. The question on if it is actually legal still hangs in the air with this practice, much like a few other practices.

Another practice that scares me and I wonder how legal it is deals with traffic. Wherever we go there are people honking constantly and passing like maniacs. I find myself constantly gripping my seat thinking “we’re going to get hit”, which we managed to avoid until yesterday. I don’t think the US would allow such driving and would ticket it as “reckless” because it is! There are also people randomly stopped, pulled over, or idling on the wrong side of the road which is not okay at home because it is so dangerous! And to top off this risky driving, people just walk wherever, whenever! Cross walks are barely around, especially outside Kingston and that adds to the danger. When we got hit I immediately ¬†asked how that’s supposed to handled because in the US we have such set procedures for such things, here I feel it’s a miracle if someone had a license and insurance (and I still don’t even know if they have insurance like we do at home). To be blunt it’s nuts! I almost feel as if this “no problem mon” attitude can be dangerous to the citizens and the lack of law enforcement can attribute to the high crime rate. one thing is for sure, this is just one of many differences I have noticed!

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