Wed | Mar 20, 2019

Devon Dick | Silence Makers - Persons of the Year 2017

Published:Thursday | January 4, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Silence Makers are the Persons of the Year in Jamaica, unlike in the United States, where the Time magazine has named the Silence Breakers as Persons of the Year. Time magazine featured the silence breakers who, for better, have had significant impact on the nation. The women and men have broken their silence and so far many powerful persons have tumbled.

However, in Jamaica, the silence makers have dominated and have contributed to the over 1,600 persons killed in 2017, which is the highest number of murders since 2009, and which is a significant increase over those in 2016. Who saw who killed 39-year-old Craig Brown at a gas station in Portmore? Who knows who killed 17-year-old Meadowbrook High School Micholle Moulton in Arnett Gardens? Who has information about who killed the gardener in the house, and the many other voiceless persons who died during 2017? There is no perfect crime, so when will those who raped and then slaughtered 88-year-old Nettie Rowe be convicted? And what about Corporal Melvin Smith, who, while in uniform, was murdered while helping a victim? Most killings have been brazenly executed. Persons have information and evidence, but silence will cause many to get away with murder!

We are allowing evil to have a field day at the expense of good. Can we honestly say before God and humankind that we have done our best in fighting this murderous monster? Did we pass on any information or evidence to a confidential and trusted police? Did we make even one call to Crime Stop? Did we encourage others to share information about criminal activity? Did our church bulletins have a corner encouraging the support of lawful crime management? Or are we like the three monkeys we see no evil, we hear no evil and we report no evil.

We need to feel a sense of shame and guilt for not doing better and doing more. We know the formula of what to do. We did it after 2009. After the Tivoli operation in 2010, there was a drastic fall in murders. We have the examples of August Town, Grants Pen, etc, where murders have declined. It can be done, but will it?




How will we know when we are serious? There will be a mass movement, sustained outcry and a sense of fear that it can affect anyone of us. Then those who are given to an oath of secrecy and a code of silence will become silence breakers. Then the police force, and the media, of whom it is said know more than they are reporting, will also cry out.

In the 1980s, a pastor invited me to preach at an open-air meeting in an inner-city community. Some young men came and greeted the pastor. They had guns in their waists, but the pastor assured me that they would not 'trouble' me. There are many hotspots where gunmen will not 'trouble' church people, and church people will not 'trouble' the gunmen. However, it is time to change that strategy. Learn from history when the British missionaries in the early 19th century would not attack slavery until they realised that slavery was a humbug to the spread of the gospel. The killings and spread of the gospel cannot coexist indefinitely, as one will hinder the achievement of the objectives of the other.

When we are serious (about fighting crime) the police force will have the required number of vehicles and the number of police personnel will be at an optimum. Our best minds and brightest talents will join the Jamaica Constabulary Force to attack this monster.

By the way, the murders in St James are frightening because since 2016, it appears to be random. It can strike anywhere, at any time, and anyone. Therefore, no one is safe. Hopefully, this could be the year we mobilise the country to be silence breakers.

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