Using the family as a symbol to explain “support” for the Reggae Girls

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The Reggae Girls 2023 World Cup football team (photo: courtesy of Team Jamaica Facebook)

There is an acrimonious relationship between the Reggae Girls and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) where some players said they had to open a go fund me account to get money to participate in the 2023 women’s World Cup. Moreover, the players agued that JFF did not believe in them. The JFF in response to these criticisms stated publicly that it provided US$3 million for the team’s preparation and no go funding was done. The Jamaican Government is upset and worried about the damage the public utterances have done to the reputation of Brand Jamaica. Therefore, the government has offered to mediate in the impasse between the team and the JFF. I use the notion of the family to discuss this vexing issue in an uncontroversial but revealing way.

Mommy and daddy have been paying the rent, the light bill, and the water bill, and also providing breakfast for their children daily. The church has also been giving money to mommy and daddy, annually, to take care of the children. But, mommy and daddy have been neglecting the children’s general developmental needs. The children, with the knowledge of their parents, have been begging money in the community for clothes, shoes, school supplies, lunch, dinner and bus fare for many years. These comprise the shortfall that mommy and daddy did not provide.

The children have passed their PEP exam for the best high schools in Jamaica, and the most gifted child complained, publicly, that she and her siblings had to beg to attain academic success. Some community members who witnessed the children begging over the years are now livid that the parents are celebrating and claiming the children’s academic achievements when the children had to beg. These community members have been giving mommy and daddy hell with their criticisms. Village lawyers from other communities have also been circulating information that the parents have not been up to par in their parental responsibilities.

Family members are now very upset (including some family friends that have appeared on TV, radio and social media) that some community members and village lawyers elsewhere have been unfairly tarnishing the reputation of the family.

The only way to settle this bangarang is for mommy and daddy to open their pocket book to the community for scrutiny! Mommy and daddy should let the community know the cost to take care of the children annually, how much money the church has contributed annually to the children, how much money, love, care and support mommy and daddy have provided annually for the children’s developmental needs, and how they, as parents, have groomed the children for academic success!

As we continue to develop football in Jamaica, we should think carefully about who mommy and daddy are in the context of the Reggae Girls, who are the children, the church, the community residents, the family, family friends and the village lawyers. What are the roles and responsibilities of each? We should also be mindful that the primary responsibility for the protection, care and development of the children lies with mommy and daddy. Did one of the parents abuse the children and deliberately withhold funds from them? This is a pertinent question to answer.

Christopher A.D. Charles is a Professor of Political and Social Psychology at the University of the West Indies, Mona and has worked as the team psychologist for two championship premier league football teams in Jamaica.

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