What if there had been no Armadale fire?
As we fast approach the first anniversary of the Armadale tragedy, many words have been spoken but still no action has been taken. Our collective attentions are now tuned to the findings of the very much overdue Armadale enquiry.
The truth is that the commission of the enquiry was somewhat unnecessary, as it was well known that wards of the state were regularly subjected to physical, mental and psychological abuse. Many of us knew very well what was happening, but we chose to remain silent. When a people and a country decide that the rehabilitation of its young people will be placed in the remit of the correctional services, is this indeed so contrite?
Our attitude towards those young individuals may have sentenced them to death, long before that horrific night. What happened to investigative journalism? Where were the youth advocates? Where was the Church? Before the night of May 22, 2009, there was very little with regard to unified opposition.
Indifference and self-serving individuals contributed very much to the unspeakable horrors endured by these young, misguided, yet promising lives. But even more unbelievable is that mediocre parenting or callous disregard, demonstrated by those so empowered in the leading of the rehabilitative process, pales in comparison with the collective silence and tolerance on the part of the Jamaican people.
I am, etc.,
NOEL F. MATHERSON