THE EDITOR, Sir:
Those of us who have been working hard over the last decade (as researchers, social workers, caregivers and in law enforcement) to promote understanding and healing of the distressing deportation phenomenon are, as a natural response, flummoxed by The Gleaner's decision to not only print, but to emblazon on the front page of its Sunday edition, journalist Tyrone Reid's confounding, unsubstantiated non-story, 'Perverts on the loose: deported sex offenders roaming undetected' (March 10, 2013).
The evils of how to lie with statistics are well known, but ignoring statistics to promote a lie is a horse of an altogether different, more deplorable colour. Mr Reid, to be fair, does make it plain that he has no direct facts in support of what he wants to tell us, or for the inference that he expects us to make. But, he tells us anyway.
He frightens us (scared to death as we already are about crime) with the thought that a next-door neighbour could be a 'deportee' bent on molesting your precious little four-year-old, or on scaling your fence to rape your wife, your sister, maybe even your mother. This is 'information' he has gathered, Mr Reid writes, from "an overseas source", whose identity he dares not disclose, leaving us to wonder if the source might not be a dead granny.
It is settled fact, Mr Reid, that nowhere in the Caribbean do we have data showing any corresponding statistical relationship in increase in the rate of serious violent crime with the presence or numbers of deported persons. The Jamaican authorities know so; and surely the management and editorial directorate of The Gleaner must also know so.
We do not have in Jamaica a population of wild deportees wanting to lead criminal gangs or to maim, rape and murder. Rather, under the leadership of a non-governmental organisation that they themselves founded - which is accorded the full backing of the police and Ministry of National Security apparatus, and financial support from the British High Commission - our deported fellow Jamaicans, as a general rule, seek only a hand up as they aspire to repair, reconnect and heal. They do so against insurmountable odds, not the least of which is the media's fearmongering and fixation with perpetuating myths and falsehood about them.
BERNARD HEADLEY (Prof)
Chair, National Organisation of Deported Migrants