I am a member of a Polish community in Jersey. Since my arrival in year 2000 I’ve met many people from different walks of life and cultures. I’ve learnt a whole lot about Jersey history, language and society. I enjoyed the natural environment, quiet atmosphere of living, pushed myself to upgrade further my education and worked hard to reach the place in life I wanted to be.
There are many positive things that can be said about Jersey. I do appreciate the conciliatory way of resolving problems regardless what they are. I like the charitable nature of many initiatives on the Island because they require participation in community life and make people to come together. I welcome the fact that any resident paying rates can influence decisions important for his/hers Parish and that after relatively short period of time of being resident here one can vote. I value that legal help is available for those who are not on high income. I rate highly opportunity available for everyone who wants to use them and fact that Jersey despite being a small spot on a map is relatively well known worldwide.
There are also things that make me uncomfortable. I wish something could be done about including Poles in all aspects of Island’s life on a States scale like it is other countries to harness their experience and knowledge. Without that Poles feel unaccomplished, trapped in a world where there is no way to develop and then they leave. I hope that local people could take more serious interest in Poles as individuals instead of repeating some rotten stereotypes Poles do not recognize. By doing that they would make Poles feel less alienated. I wish no Pole is called ‘an import’ just because he or she has voice and knows how to use it. It would make them feel less regretful that I don’t live somewhere else. I wish no-one say that Polish language is not welcome on streets of St. Helier because comments like that bring the worst memories of Polish genocides and persecutions for speaking our native language. No-one wants to loose own heritage why would Poles be any different. I also wish that someone finally addresses fears of Poles taking local jobs who often work 12 -14 hours with no breaks. Ambition and commitment will always stick above the parapet and hammering Poles for it doesn’t serve Jersey well.