Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Tackling murder in Jamaica

Published:Thursday | May 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The Gleaner's Editorial of May 3, 2016 described Minister of National Security Bobby Montague "calling for the resumption of hanging" as "tried and tested to incite popular emotions", and I would add unconstitutional since it is the prerogative of the DPP to make such a call based on crimes punishable by death.

Since the late 1970s, over 40,000 Jamaicans have been murdered and Amnesty International reports that there are "at least seven" persons known to be under sentence of death by the end of 2011. The last execution in Jamaica by hanging was in 1988. Clearly, the problem lies not in the courts, but the investigative arm of our police force and its inability to arrest persons who are involved in aggravated murder.

Second, the resumption of hanging cannot be a deterrent, since there has been a cultural shift in regards to the fear of death among most persons who would commit murder. It is like telling a suicide terrorist that you will hang him/her if caught. In most conflicts, we often hear of persons who have expressed no fear of death as long as they had eliminated their victim/s. We are living in a culture that denies death as expressed in the social manifestation of nine-nights, grave digging ceremonies, "bling" funerals and unconventional tomb structures.




To solve Jamaica's high murder rate, our nation and, in particular the inner city communities, need a shake-up. This requires political will. Jamaica is also perhaps the only country in the world where its capital is mostly ghetto. The parish of Kingston needs an infusion of middle- and upper-class residential areas for its transformation.

At our educational level, the elementary, primary and secondary schools need to not only have instructional education, but that of formation as set out in the values and attitudes agenda. We have over the last 30 years been producing citizens who are crass, undisciplined, uneducated and lacking in patriotic allegiance to Jamaica.

Dudley C. McLean II

Mandeville, Manchester