Jamaican Patois petition losing steam…only 20% of target reached

With just under a month to go before the movement closes, it would seem the petition to push the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to recognise Jamaican Patois alongside English as the island’s two official languages is not getting as much support to be taken seriously by lawmakers.

The petition, launched on Tuesday, November 5, has only gathered 2,886 signatures or roughly 19.2% of the total target of 15,000 participants.

The Jamaican Patois petition closes on Saturday, December 14.

Screengrab from the Jamaican Patois petition showing its progress as of Tuesday, November 19 (Photo: OPM.gov.jm)

In the English version of the petition, its organisers are pushing for patois’ official recognition, which is currently considered just a dialect.

The group argues that patois has been uniting Jamaicans at home and within the diaspora for many years and is a marker of our global identity.

What’s more, the petition, which is also translated in Jamaican, is fitting since 2019 is being celebrated as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Official flag of the United Nations, based in New York City (Photo: Wikipedia)

“We call on the government and parliament of Jamaica to take all the steps necessary to grant official status to Jamaican, alongside English,” the movement stated.

Persons wishing to sign the petition can follow the link to the OPM’s website here.