Mon | Sep 26, 2016

Whose life is worth more?

Published:Sunday | January 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In response to the death sentences handed down to the accused murderers of the Lyns, Councillor Sally Porteous, the Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for the Central Manchester division, was quoted elsewhere in the media as saying, "I had to be here to hear the sentence of the most vile creatures who murdered two of the best people in Jamaica", and, "I'm happy to say that justice has been done and I hope that this time, the death penalty will be executed because good Jamaicans can't take any more."

While people like Councillor Porteous are "happy … that justice has been done", I cannot express the same satisfaction. Where is the 'justice' in all this if more people are put to death by the hands of their compatriots? Does state-sanctioned killing equate to justice? Nevertheless, my purpose in writing is not to question the ethics of the death penalty. The shocking murder of the Lyns, as well as the media spectacle that accompanied it, continues to be a discomforting reminder to me and my family members of justice denied.

Raped and murdered

Around the same time of the Lyn murders, in December 2006, my grandmother was raped and murdered in the small, rural community of Gimme-Me-Bit, Clarendon. It was a shocking and gruesome event that did not garner as much media attention as the Lyns. Whether the media attention given to the Lyns was due to their affluence, political clout, or because of the horrendous way they were murdered, is debatable. However, what is for certain is that my grandmother, Ida Bhoorasingh, was one of the many 'good Jamaicans' who are murdered every day and deserve the dignity of some form of justice.

I share the sentiments with many members of the Jamaican Diaspora who feel that the corruption in Jamaica is too rampant among state authorities. We have experienced this corruption first-hand in the form of police misconduct. Eventually, we lost hope of any justice being served.

The sentencing of the accused kidnappers and murderers of Richard and Julia Lyn rubs salt into a gaping wound. Are the lives of the supposed 'best Jamaicans' like the Lyns worth more than a poor old lady from Gimme-Me-Bit?

I am, etc.,

ZAHIR SMALL

zahir.small@gmail.com

Department of English

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida