Sat | Feb 24, 2018

Letter of the Day | Remove the culture of lawlessness and lewdness

Published:Thursday | March 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Let us be clear. At no point did Lisa Hanna suggest that dancehall is the source of crime, nor did she say it was the leading contributor. She spoke about the lewdness, violence and slackness found in many dancehall lyrics and how this was influencing our youth and affecting the wider society. She also addressed the issue of Vybz Kartel, who is incarcerated for murder and still allowed to record new music. Whether or not she liked some of Kartel's music before is not the point, and we shouldn't confuse the issue. Kartel is recording new music and winning new awards: there are more questions than answers.

The fact that Ms Hanna received a deluge of threats and vitriol over her comments explains why she is 100 per cent correct. The dancehall culture is not the source of crime, but it is contributing as it sets the tone of what is now considered normal and acceptable. I therefore commend Ms Hanna for having the courage to bravely speak out on these issues despite the backlash.

PM Holness, when asked about the issue, said he was against censorship; he prefers to use education instead to deal with cultural degradation. I found his response rather simplistic. I was disappointed by his response; he had an opportunity to take this to another level, and instead he danced around the topic. Ms Hanna did not call for censorship in the broad sense of the word. I cannot call in to a radio talk show and start cursing. I'll be cut off immediately. That is not censorship. it is the station exercising its right to set standards when it comes to decency and what is considered acceptable in line with its image. I am free to curse in private, of course, just as people are free to listen to whatever music they choose in private. I was also disappointed with the Broadcasting Commission's response in a press release, they also skirted around issue, denying any accountability, for Kartel's music on the airwaves. They said, "to be clear, as it concerns convicts, their privilege or ability to create music while incarcerated is governed by correctional rules."




I believe all parties must come together on this issue if there is to be any impact or influence at all. Those who see nothing wrong with curtailing the rights of a convicted criminal are also part of the problem. Those who know better must do better. eventually, the rest will catch on and they will get it. We have to take the hard-line approach now crime has taken over the country. The task of reducing crime cannot be confined to a single person or ministry, or the police. With all the efforts tried, we have not had much success fighting crime. It is for this reason we must start by addressing our cultural issues. No one is saying this is the reason for crime, but culture certainly sets the tone. A culture of lawlessness and lewdness leads to exactly that, and reflects that also. We must use culture more effectively and positively as tools to uplift. Ms Hanna has gained a lot of support with this.

P. Chin