THE EDITOR, Sir:
MUCH HAS been written in the print media and said on radio and TV about the continuing displays of depraved, inhuman conduct to which Jamaica has become so accustomed. While there are expressions of outrage and calls for action, much of the society has been so conditioned over the past few decades that they appear to have reached the point of near immunity to major shock.
The events of the past week in St James have, however, been at such an extreme level of brutality that there has been an even greater outcry and, in particular, a demand for more effective action by our security forces. The discourse, while calling for stronger legislative measures (e.g. long-awaited DNA legislation) that would greatly facilitate crime detection, also underscores the major challenge facing our police force in operating in a society where the anti-informer culture is so embedded as to make their job infinitely more challenging than obtains in most other places.
Attempting to address this phenomenon is all the more difficult where there are also underlying negative values and attitudes - among the most prevalent being disrespect for women (the demeanour of some notwithstanding), vulgarising human sexuality, allowing varying forms of child abuse, extreme homophobic behaviour, escalating even mild disagreement into major conflicts, and a celebration of noise that wilfully disregards the right to privacy of other persons.
For urgent attention
I wish to support those who have written and spoken out about the impact of the countervailing antisocial, anti-law-supporting messages that are so powerfully communicated, and are received and often acted upon by many of the more vulnerable members of our society. While the broadcasting commission has been trying to clean up the air waves, and while there is a major challenge in exercising control over branches of the electronic media, both local and foreign, which carry harmful material, the role of a number of our popular entertainers in conveying and promoting negative messages, which are literally force-fed on a population subject to amplified sound systems, is a matter for urgent attention.
Can there not be an expanded role, or a complementary body, that will help us bell the cat and promote a more desirable standard of values and attitudes? This is surely among the most critical measures for any serious hope of attaining Jamaica Vision 2030.