Thu | Nov 26, 2020

The biggest crime in Ja is food crime – Dr K’adamawe K’Nife

Published:Sunday | November 22, 2020 | 7:59 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Dr K’adamawe K’Nife.

Thursday night, at an International Men’s Day digital forum organised by the Clarendon Inter Agency Network, Dr K’adamawe K’Nife pointed to one of the biggest dangers to Jamaican men.

K’Nife, who holds a doctor of philosophy degree in sustainable development and a master of science degree in economics, in highlighting the everyday discussions surrounding crime, gun crimes in particular, said the biggest crime, food crime, is being overlooked.

“Right now, the biggest crime in Jamaica is food crime, because bad imported food that takes less than three months to grow, kill more people in Jamaica than gun shot,” he said.

According to him, while there is a massive strategy to fight crime, there is none that fights food crime.

Pointing out that more than 10,000 people die every year from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, with a large proportion being males, K’Nife stressed the dangers to the agriculture sector which men are exposed to.

Unseen dangers

“I am speaking about agriculture in particular because what people don’t realise, even a thing like Roundup (weed killer) that is banned in many countries, it is still being used in Jamaica,” he said, adding that the pesticide contains glyphosate, which is a major cancer-causing chemical that also destroys the sperm count in men, destroys the fertility of women, and is absorbed through the skin.

K’Nife, in stressing the need to recognise what he calls ‘silent killers’, said, while he understands the importance of agriculture to the country, in an effort to build the sector, bad inputs are sometimes being used and the negative effects of those inputs on the males are not being observed.

According to K’Nife, while the farmers are working hard to plant food to feed the nation, they are being attacked by a ‘sniper’ in the form of poisonous substances that are being promoted, sometimes through the Ministry of Agriculture.

“So, it is something that we really need to take very seriously. We need to find a strategy so that we can push agriculture but reduce the amount of harmful chemicals used that expose the male to all kinds of lifestyle illnesses,” he said.

Another danger to Jamaican men that The University of the West Indies entrepreneurship lecturer highlighted is what he terms ‘GREW’ – grabba, rum, energy drink and weed - which he said is a dangerous combination being consumed every day by young men, which causes their lungs to be destroyed, in some cases leading to heart attacks.

“We not understanding the violent acts taking place by these young people. We not assessing what they are consuming and how what they consume influences their behaviour. These are not new things. We not including in that analysis the combination of these things as a combination,” shared K’Nife as he highlighted that some of the energy drinks in Jamaica are banned in many countries. He said a youth stealing ackee from a tree at King’s House is quicker to be locked up than those importing banned substances.

K’Nife was making reference to an incident years ago, where a young man picked ackees on the grounds of King’s House, the official residence of the governor general, and was sent to prison for it.