THE EDITOR, Sir:
Jamaica, land of wood and water and brain-dead non-politicians. A few weeks ago, I sat on a beach in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, wondering what is wrong with my beloved Jamaica. Yes, Tenerife is much smaller than Jamaica, but the island seems to be doing well. I had a good laugh today after reading an article in The Gleaner. I must confess it was not a good laugh because our beloved people's lives are in danger.
If I were born last night, I would think Jamaica was two countries, for example, East Jamaica and West Jamaica just like former East and West Germany after reading the article titled, "PNP, JLP haggle over who's at fault for crime." The citizens of Jamaica feel like the PNP-led West Jamaica's citizens are going over the border to kill the JLP-run East Jamaica's citizens and vice versa. We all know there is only one Jamaica, so whom these non-politicians are trying to fool is beyond our beloved people. In many letters, I have written to the editor, I clearly state that police or PNP or JLP or INDECOM or the Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) or normal citizens cannot fight crime alone. Fighting crime in Jamaica must be a collective effort by all citizens of Jamaica.
Some fingers are thick, some are long, some are short, some are slim, some carry a married ring, some carry a graduation ring, some carry a black magic ring and some are outright dangerous and destructive. On August 9, 2009, both national newspapers carried a letter I wrote entitled, "Crime, not diaspora, conference needed." Both newspapers think it was worthwhile choosing that letter to be Letter of the Day.
I got an email from Mr Nelson's office, the former minister of national security, asking me to call the minister concerning my letter in the newspapers. I got calls from Jamaica telling me that the Rev Ronald Thwaites discussed my letter on his radio programme and I received many emails from people telling me that was what Jamaica needed.
In the letter, I said many things, but I want to reprint something I wrote in that letter on August 9, 2009. I wrote, "During the first two days of the conference, the former and present ministers of national security and the commissioners of police should talk frankly and openly about why they failed without pointing fingers or playing the blame game. The rest of the panel should just listen and take note." Now, you see why I said the fingers are sometimes very destructive and dangerous.
Believe what you want to believe, but JLP and PNP are pointing fingers at each other concerning high crime and many other things; JFJ and police are pointing fingers at each other; and INDECOM and the director of public prosecutions are pointing fingers at each other. The world is pointing fingers at us because of our high crime rate; Transparency International is pointing fingers at us for our high level of corruption; USA is pointing fingers at us because of our weak border patrol; and our dancehall artistes are pointing our fragile youths in the wrong direction with their destructive and non-educative lyrics.
It serves no purpose if the JLP has its own crime conference at Belmont Road and the PNP has its own at Old Hope Road. Where does that put our journalists? Do you think they are between a rock and hard place, or between Belmont Road and Old Hope Road? Shooting off accusations across Kingston at each other will not help the high crime rate to decrease; it will surely give a signal to the people firing the gun to murder more people because they see that non-politicians are at loggerheads with each other. This finger-pointing by non-politicians once again confirm what we already knew that these so-called lawmakers really take Jamaicans for clowns. Which sensible Jamaican would take sides when it concerns the killing of citizens of Jamaica? Any Jamaican who says, "Yes, it is PNP's or JLP's fault why crime is so high in Jamaica", needs to have his or her head checked.
In August 1987, I stood in a square near where I was staying in Helsinki, Finland, with Cassman 'Jazbo' Williams. While we were standing there, a Finnish couple came to talk to us and wanted to know where we came from. When we told them we were from Jamaica, their first question was, "Why the killing of so many people in 1980?" I wish quicksand were under me when that question hit me. Moreover, to think after 26 years, we are still having problems figuring out how to squeeze crime to death.
seek outside help
If our people cannot work together to fix crime, it might be best to invite some people from Toronto, New York, and London - places were crime was rampant - to sit between these cats and dogs - to solve our crime problems. It is not possible for a country to strive when its citizens are not sure they will live to see tomorrow.
Now, Jamaica is a mixed bag, which means we produce great, outstanding people, for example, in sports, medicine, music. We must also admit that we have produced some cold-hearted people, people who are wreaking havoc in Jamaica and non-politicians, politicians who are blind to the truth. We have high levels of corruption, high crime rates, an unworkable justice system and some citizens who think changes are unnecessary.
Are we going to embrace the positive things in our country, or should we continue with the way things are? We all think it is time to make a serious effort to address the crime situation with a few invited guests so that people can live in harmony. Let us call for a crime conference in which all parties sit in the same room to discuss a way forward without upsetting each other. I think the people of Jamaica deserve at least that. Let's see if the prime minister and the Opposition can arrange a meeting to discuss a way forward. We can only bring down the crime rate if we are working from the same set of rules, and those sets of rules can only come into being if both parties and invited guests give it their vote of confidence.