Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Doreen Frankson | This is the last straw, PM

Published:Sunday | April 23, 2017 | 4:00 AM
Doreen Frankson
Errol Crosby/Photographer Shanika Phillips, murdered midnight Wednesday at age 14.
Errol Crosby/Photographer Melita Ferron mourns the midnight murder of her 14-year-old daughter, Shanika Phillips, while on her way home accompanied by an adult cousin last week during the Easter holidays. Gunmen attempted to kidnap them and she was shot in the back when she tried to flee.
Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica.
Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica.
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Dear Prime Minister Holness:

I cannot help but begin my column with a quote from Tanya Stephens' song Sound of My Tears: "Any people who don't spend enough to provide for the poor you won't be able to spend enough to protect the rich. Think poverty a poor people problem? Think again, how much people problem ... ."

As a businesswoman who has chosen to live her entire life in Jamaica and contribute to national development, I am outraged, maddened, and sickened by the depravity to which we have sunk as a people! Continuous acts of brutality have skyrocketed against women in our society. Law-abiding women continue to be targets for business decisions they make in the interest of their companies, or companies, with which they have been entrusted management responsibilities.

Three recent reported incidents come to mind. But the last that hit home even more deeply for me is the atrocious beating of a colleague by an ex-employee, who she had terminated a few days earlier. In addition, there is the shooting that took place at St Andrew Preparatory, which was allegedly triggered by the attempted kidnapping of a woman by another terminated employee, and the dent of the brutal attack on the Moncrieffes, all occurring in quick succession. These all indicate that we have crossed a threshold. Our women are suffering.

I cannot help but feel that the Government has no crime plan. No plan to deal with the kidnapping of our young girls. No plan to deal with protecting law-abiding business people. No plan to deal with protecting women who wish to use the streets to keep fit. No plan to deal with women who make decisions to cull bad apples from their businesses.

In fact, in the April 12, 2017, Gleaner article by Herbert Gayle, he indicated that females are not safe in "Kingston, where their homicide is at a higher rate than the civil-war benchmark and equal to the average of the Latin America and the Caribbean".

I feel that the Government will not take this seriously until we lead a revolt! Until we march and boycott the regime that has been elected to protect us. Until we adopt a militancy that allows us to be heard! WE CAN TAKE NO MORE!

The economic growth that has been promised will not occur until crime is fixed. Government needs to remember the number of small businesses headed by women and how these businesses create employment. I am determined to say that economic growth is propelled by women in this country, and if we are to lie back and allow continuous attacks, we will create a society where women, who would, will cower and not even consider entrepreneurship as an option.

 

A REAL SOLUTION

 

I have watched our elected leaders make decisions that continue to sideline opportunities and even the effort of businesses in general. I am sorry to say that I have seen where Government has operated like Nicodemus in the night in passing laws. We have suffered under the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) whenever we have dismissed employees proven to be thieves. We are beaten by Government and we are beaten by the criminal element. We are at the end of the road. This is the last straw!

This is a cry for help! My tears are real, and they need to be wiped away by a real solution. I humbly suggest that effort is made to get the productive women of this country together to a meeting, where, Prime Minister, you will allow open and honest dialogue.

I am certain you will hear the pain and terror that many of us face. In my own circumstance, I face the fear every day that of the 94 women I employ, one will be the next victim. I fear because they are in decision-making positions and they terminate employees when necessary. To be placed in a position to tell their families that they have been brutalised because of a decision they have made in my employ wrenches at my soul. I do not know how to create a safe environment for them anymore.

Prime Minister Holness, I do not know where else to go, except to you, our highest leader, to have you take up this call. The determination that the Jamaica Constabulary Force exercises in ensuring that kidnappings do not take root in Jamaica is the same determination that is required to make this country safe again.

I respectfully ask that you listen to the sound of my tears and hope that they will move you to prioritise the urgently needed focus on this troubling issue.

- Doreen Frankson is managing director of EdgeChem. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com