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LETTER OF THE DAY - Jamaica needs help,not extraditions

Published:Tuesday | March 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

IT IS full time for the political elite of this country to face up to the fact that there is a need to lay the cards face up on the table and discuss Jamaica's real needs with the United States,

It is a fact that in this country we have had many persons involved in, or who have benefited from, the trade in drugs and possibly in arms. It is true that many of our small businessmen and women got their start from carrying or pushing drugs. Thanks to decades of scarcity of capital and real opportunities, many Jamaicans with the best of intentions in the world, have found themselves at one time or the other walking on the wrong side of the road.

Deterioration of society

This lack of capital and opportunities, and a bankrupt system of justice and security have led to the formation of enclave communities, killings and retributions, families against families, cousins against cousins, classmates against classmates, and a population of youth growing up with little or no contact with the outside world.

What is needed from the political elite is honesty and acceptance of the social and economic realities facing the Jamaican people and the small-business sector, and based on this acceptance of reality, the removal of lawyers from this extradition issue. We should approach the US as a long-standing friend and request help, with the clear understanding that what Jamaica needs at this moment are not extraditions but security, justice, and opportunities for the ordinary man in the street. This is the time when our sociologists and anthropologists need to take the lead in these discussions, not lawyers.

We also need to approach the US as a friend and not as an adversary. In doing that, we approach with honesty and with full respect. Nearly all congressmen/women attend church; even the president of the US attends church. The leadership of the Jamaican churches needs to make contact with their US counterparts and start their own discussions on the issue.

In the meantime, Professor David Rowe needs to keep his learned opinions to himself. Jamaica needs help in reforming the system, not beatings and floggings.

I am, etc.,

BASIL FLETCHER

Basilfletcher1960@yahoo.com

Greater Portmore

St Catherine