Baltimore ablaze - lessons for Jamaica
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The city of Baltimore is divided, between the wealthy west and poor east. So another case of police abuse, this time breaking the spine of a black arrestee who later died, has triggered destructive violence very similar to that in London five years ago. Another killing of a black person with no sanctions against a background of severe disadvantage.
Though described as 'senseless violence', it cannot be unexpected and is very understandable, if not excusable. Frustrated young people who see no bright future find it easy to respond to social media promptings and create mayhem, damaging their own community, but at the same time sending a message in perhaps the only way that will be heard.
The parallels with Jamaica are too close for comfort. Few opportunities, lack of jobs, absence of opportunities, so people turn to help from questionable sources, which turns ugly all too often, as in Tivoli in 2010 (and previously).
We have a lot to do in our poor communities if we are to avoid the fate of Baltimore at the moment. We hear that money has been earmarked for the improvement of our inner cities, but will it be enough, and will it be effective? It certainly needs to be.