Mon | Apr 6, 2020

‘Sufferer phenomenon’ taking over Jamaica - Lawyer blames ‘outside influence’ for root cause of violence

Published:Wednesday | November 13, 2019 | 12:11 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer


Attorney-at-law Ella Drummond, Jamaica’s honorary consul in Barbados, has lamented the fact that Jamaica has become so desensitised to murder and dying that the 1,000-plus murder annual figures are now seen as normal.

Speaking at the 40th anniversary of the ordination of the Reverend Canon Hartley Dalton Perrin, Custos Rotulorum of Westmoreland, recently, Drummond said it was disconcerting that even in the face of the states of emergency, the murder toll remains on the same upward trajectory.

“I posit that it cannot be normal; we must not accept it as normal. We must as church, as a community, do all that we can to stem the crimson tide that flows freely across our land,” she argued.

Drummond said the embracing of the unacceptable “sufferer phenomenon” and the failure of the Jamaican authorities to proactively put measures in place to counter the impact of the “invasive and pervasive international mass media”, and the Internet are among the root causes of violence and criminality today.

“Born into circumstances which are not nurturing or inspiring, they (sufferers) have come to believe over time, that life has no value, that if they live to be 21 they are lucky, that their lives are worthless and they are dispensable. They are not prepared to make any meaningful contribution to this fair land of ours,” she said.

Consequently, Drummond added that she was baffled at how Jamaica, one of the most creative nations in the world, failed to recognise the surging tide of outside influence and implement a chain of strategies to stem the problem.

She said the so-called sufferers are bombarded with all sorts of information at lightning speed, and despite living in “a reality where everything is super-fast, they are expected to conform to old norms and try to get a good nine-to-five job and make something of themselves”.

“All this, while the culture all around them is saying, ‘you can get yours fast and easy; by scamming, by picking up a gun, by doing whatever it takes. Yes, you could get killed in the process, but what is your life really worth anyway’?” she argued.

“And so they embrace a reality that is un-Jamaican. They are rising up and seizing theirs by any means necessary, and the result is the crimson tide that runs from St Thomas in the east to Negril in the west, from St Mary in the north to Manchester in the south,” she added.

The nation’s most vulnerable, such as children, our women, returning nationals, LGBTQ, she said, are sitting ducks for this new breed of criminals who do not hold any life sacrosanct.

As to how to reverse the problem, Drummond said a sensitisation programme that stress that all human life is sacred must be quickly undertaken.

From a sociological perspective, Drummond said the rural-urban drift has taken a negative toll on countryside communities, which are weakened as their best and brightest leave, never to return.

“For, if by design or happenstance we take the brightest and best from our communities and transplant them into the corporate areas or suburbia, we are by that act removing the very roots of communities, the positive life force which should make rural communities stronger and better and provide leadership and care,” she said.