Petition calls for Government to make patois official language
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, addressing a civic ceremony last month to commemorate the centenary of the birth of late cultural ambassador, Louise Bennett-Coverley. affectionately known as “Miss Lou”. Miss Lou is known championing the use of patois internationally.
The Jamaican Language Unit (JLU) at the University of the West Indies has submitted a petition to the Office of the Prime Minister demanding the government to take the necessary steps toward recognising patois (Jamaican) as an official language alongside English.
In a news release announcing the move, the JLU noted that the petition is presented in both patois and English "and would be the first bilingual petition opened for public signature on that website."
The petition is now awaiting the official vetting process which is carried out before petitions are opened for public signature, the JLU said, noting that the minimum number of signatures from citizens of Jamaica required to elicit a statement on the matter from the Government of Jamaica is 15,000.
The petition comes as the nation celebrates the 100th birthday anniversary of cultural icon, Louise Bennett-Coverley, known for championing the use of Jamaican patois internationally.
The full text of the petition is presented below:
MAKE JAMAICAN AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE ALONGSIDE ENGLISH/
MEK JAMIEKAN WAHN OFISHAL LANGWIJ SAIDA INGGLISH
Whereas all Jamaicans are united by one common language, Jamaican;
And whereas the Jamaican language is a marker of unity and identity in Jamaican diaspora communities in Britain, Canada, the USA and elsewhere;
And whereas the Jamaican language has a strong global presence in world literature and music;
And whereas, as part of Miss Lou 100, the country is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Honourable Louise Bennett Coverley, one of the biggest champions of the Jamaican language;
And whereas the world is celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages, as declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations;
And whereas speakers of Jamaican who do not also speak English should be given the same access to all the services of the Jamaican state as those who speak only English;
We call on the Government and Parliament of Jamaica to take all the steps necessary to grant official status to Jamaican, alongside English.
Juu tu ou Jamiekan a di wan langwij we bring evri Jamiekan tugeda;
An juu tu ou di Jamiekan langwij a wahn sain fi shuo se di Jamiekan piipl dem ina Britn, Kyanada, Merika an adarels plies a wan an kyahn shuo se dem a Jamiekan;
An juu tu ou di Jamiekan langwij big pan di worl stiej ina di lichicha an di myuuzik we kom outa di res a di worl;
An juu tu ou di konchri a selibriet di 100 bortdie a di Anarebl Louise Bennett Coverley, uu a did wan a di bigis champian fi di Jamiekan langwij;
An juu tu ou aal uova di worl dem a selibriet dis yier az di Intanashinal Yier fi Langwij we taak Wich-paat-dem-orijiniet, sopm we di Yuunaitid Nieshan Jenaral Asembli diklier;
An juu tu ou piipl we chat Jamiekan an uu kyaahn chat Ingglish sopuozn fi av di sed rait fi get aal a di sorvis dem fram di Jamiekan stiet we piipl we onggl chat Ingglish get;
Wi a kaal pan di Govament an di Paaliment a Jamieka fi tek aal a di akshan dem we dem niid fi tek fi mek Jamiekan wahn ofishal langwij saida Ingglish.