Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Crime is everyone’s responsibility

Published:Wednesday | September 28, 2016 | 9:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Permit me to respond to a comment made by the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Omar Robinson, which was aired on TVJ News on Monday night, September 26.

In responding to a journalist on the matter of crime in Montego Bay and the PM's meeting with stakeholders to discuss the issue, Mr Robinson said, "It is Mr Holness' responsibility. He is the prime minister, he should deal with it. Crime will affect his growth agenda."

After listening to Mr Robinson, I thought to myself, what a stupid response! Mr Robinson's statement is a major part of the problem with crime in Jamaica. Everyone seems to think it is not their responsibility, but somebody else's - the police's or the Church's or the Government's.

As such, residents do not support the police by providing information, even if they are able to do so anonymously. In fact, many Jamaicans do not give thought to how their action may have contributed to our current crime problem.

If I may cite the very industry that Mr Robinson represents, I wish to illustrate the point. Tourism is Jamaica's largest earner of foreign exchange, yet how widely are the benefits from the industry distributed to the many poor working-class Jamaicans in and around Montego Bay?

The industry has been around for decades and to date, there is no pension plan in place for the workers and efforts are just being made to introduce a pension scheme in 2017. How disgraceful! Many workers would probably not earn meaningful wages were it not for tips.

I believe that we would not have heard a peep from Mr Robinson and many others like him if crime were confined to some other area and did not have an impact on tourism. Unfortunately, many in Jamaica fail to appreciate the fact that they will be better off if their fellowman is better off. We seem to believe the opposite and are basically self-serving.

Sadly, many uneducated, defenceless Jamaicans do not have the wherewithal to lobby for their own cause and they resort to anything and everything to get by. There certainly can be no excuse for anyone committing a crime, in particular murder. However, we all have to look internally and ask ourselves how we have failed many of our youths in this country.

If we want to see change, everyone must do something, not just the Government.

JEAN-ANN BARTLEY

jeanannbartley@yahoo.com