Don't just be 'veranda lawyers' – Custos Stair
Dr David Stair, the custos rotulorum of Hanover, has said the entire nation, and not just leaders and the police, must accept responsibility for failing to deal with the underlying factors which have contributed to Jamaica's spiralling murder rate.
The custos was speaking at a Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference, which was staged by the Rotary Clubs of Negril, Lucea and Washington, DC, at the Rayon Hotel in Negril last week
"In recent times, there has been a steady increase in the call for more policing and for more ethical practices among the members of the police force, that the various groups in society hope will lead to a lowering of the rate of murders," said Stair. "I guess it is out of frustration. I am told that leaders in the public service, including myself, are being blamed because of our lack of commentary on these happenings.
"In Jamaica today, as in other places around the world, very few of us are willing to accept responsibility for our actions, either individually or collectively ... all of us have a part to play, and I don't mean by just being 'veranda lawyers'. We all have to look at the underlying causes and see how best we can give of our time, our talents and ourselves if we want to fix the problem," the custos stated.
Stair said that at the root of the crime problem is the breakdown of the traditional family structures, where parents and extended family members were involved in the upbringing of children.
"When children do not have the proper guidance and the necessary structure that will help them to be able to understand right from wrong, kindness from being mean-spirited, honesty from dishonesty, in the simplest of ways, we have doomed them to a life of crime," Stair said.
"Many of them are exposed to violence, not just on television or the movies, they stream it on the computer. It is an everyday occurrence, in many homes, from the day they were born. They experience the brutality of blows, which are supposed to correct their behaviour, and they see their mothers being battered as the way the men in their lives control them," the custos noted.