Morais Guy: Let’s take Jamaica back
In light of the recent events surrounding the gruesome murder of two missionaries in St Mary and the very recent number of murders and unsolved killings in the parish, I am compelled to pen this article, first as an appeal to the residents of the parish; and second, as a call to action to Jamaicans in general to take back our country from the grasp of those who seek to tear down the walls of peace and 'community' that we have spent decades building. Let me first express my deepest condolences to the families of Harold Nichols and Randy Hentzel, who were murdered in the Albion Mountain area of St Mary on Saturday. This very tragic event is both reprehensible and repugnant, and demonstrates the scant regard that these predators have for the value of human life. Every murder is regrettable, but when one considers the fact that these two have been good Samaritans to the people of St Mary, it is even more unpardonable. Harold and his wife, Teri, have been known to me for many years, we have worked together so, therefore, one can understand the deep sense of loss. My sincerest sympathies go to Teri and her family while they mourn the loss of their loved one.
Over the past few years, the parish of St Mary has had a steady increase in the number of murders which has shattered the once peaceful reputation of the parish. This seems to have some correlation with the emergence of a wave of gang activity taking place even among students in the parish. This is a matter of grave concern and it is even more evident that something has to be done now to stem this pattern of violence before any more innocent Jamaicans, and our visitors, fall prey to the doings of these criminals.
Although there is no one set solution to this crime problem, it is important at this point to reinvigorate efforts at community inclusion, such as police youth clubs, citizens', associations and community policing through neighborhood watch societies. It is also imperative that we work assiduously to rid ourselves of this non-informer culture, where we the citizens have the information and thus have the power to contribute to apprehending those responsible for these vicious crimes, but refuse to do so. I am therefore appealing to residents who might have information in assisting the police to come forward and share this info. I also urge the police to leave no stones unturned in apprehending the perpetrator(s) and bring him/them to justice. As citizens of this parish, we cannot afford any more like this and we need to bring the authorities into our confidence as we seek to wipe out this wave of criminality in our country.
It is most unfortunate that it takes a tragic event like this for us to be jolted into reality, but this has got to end. Note, importantly, that the police alone cannot accomplish the task of peacekeeping, neither is it their remit alone - it is all ours. I am therefore calling on our parents, parent-teacher associations, the ministers' fraternal, civil society and others to work alongside local political representatives, in tandem with the police, to help to fashion responses and get solutions to some of the problems we are facing. Jamaica belongs to all of us and it is our civic duty to safeguard and protect the safety and welfare of each other. I stand ready.
- Dr Morais Guy is Member of parliament for Central St Mary and Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade