Holness pleads for end to violence
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is appealing to Jamaicans to put an end to violence.
Using the platform of Emancipation Jubilee at Seville Heritage Park in
St Ann, Holness pleaded with all sectors of the society to work together to make Jamaica the paradise it was destined to be.
Holness described Jamaica's culture of violence as a remnant of slavery that was enforced through violent means, such as the use of the whip.
"We are out of slavery 178 years. As a people, we were in slavery 340 years before that, so tonight, while we celebrate the end of slavery, our freedom, we must reflect that as a people we have been enslaved longer than we have been free," he said.
"We have not, as a society, fully overcome slavery, and one element of slavery that still permeates, pervades, directs, influences, conditions and cultures us is violence."
He added: "We come here to celebrate because we are now a free people with our own volition to make the country that we want, and one of the things that we as a people must agree on is that the Jamaican State, our law and authority, and we as a people, how we deal with each other, the Jamaican State should not use violence as a means of social control, that the people must not use violence as a currency for social interaction."
Forge better future
Holness said Jamaicans should immediately seek to forge a better future with less violence.
"I want to use this platform tonight to appeal to all Jamaica: Let us reject
violence as a means of resolving conflict. Let us use our freedom to build a more peaceful and loving and caring society."
Holness led the audience in lighting candles before heading a team that included Members of Parliament Shahine Robinson and Juliet Holness and Custos Norma Walters to place wreaths on the tombs that contain the remains of four slaves.
This ritual is performed annually during the Emancipation Jubilee and follows the reciting of the proclamation that was read announcing an end to slavery nearly two centuries ago.