Sat | Jan 20, 2018

The lack of justice nourishing cynicism

Published:Thursday | October 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM


In the aftermath of any tragedy which grips the national attention, we are confronted by numerous ghosts which never seem to cease haunting us. These ghosts of our collective past, present and possibly future, serve as frightening reminders of the daily horrors which are visited, far too frequently, on many nameless citizens of this country. There are communities across the length and breadth of Jamaica which bleed daily.

This latest massacre in March Pen, Spanish Town, has served to not only divert the nation's attention, if only for a moment, from the inner city of Montego Bay, but also to add to the burgeoning statistics for the categories of child and adult fatalities. But, unfortunately still, the ugliest reflection of this latest episode is perhaps the heavy dose of venomous cynicism which it has injected into the national bloodstream. This cynicism, which is fed by serious doubts and a lack of confidence in the investigative capacity of the constabulary and further nourished by a gaping abyss existing where justice should be, is growing and its insidious effects of learned helplessness are becoming crippling.




This cynicism, which feeds on our apathy, is only further buttressed when cases seem to drag on forever in the courts and when justice appears stillborn and out of reach of the ordinary Jamaican. Take, for instance, well-known cases such as the recently concluded Oaklands murder trial: it took almost a decade for the case to be decided, and, lest we forget, some two years has passed and Mario Deane's family is still looking for the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Yet, the scariest ghost of them all is the one which reminds us that the scales of justice are very much askew and out of balance. In this atmosphere which is pierced by cries for 'justice', people find themselves not only frustrated, but also pushed to believe the dangerous view that the only 'justice' that one will get will be the kind one exacts themselves. This view only adds fuel to a raging inferno.

Noel Matherson