Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Improving public safety

Published:Thursday | September 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Jamaicans here at home and across the globe have earned a mark of respect for our resilience, creativity, and abilities to vocalise our dissidence against any system that fails to recognise the dehumanisation of our brothers and sisters. It is on this socio-cultural pillar that I seek to advance the view: the greatest failure in our country is not the escalation of our nation debt, but to see a Jamaican or any human being in our country inhabiting our garbage disposals and fail to activate the necessary systems to address their demise.

Since the inception of Independence, our society galvanised the collective conscientiousness that we are, 'Out of Many, One People'. This iconic axiom, in my opinion, demonstrates an integrated society poised in defence of the advancement of the whole human race; through work, education, training and, more so, good citizenship.

I stand corrected, but fervently uphold the belief there remains an unparalleled relationship in the words we recite in our National Pledge and anthem, and how we politically or otherwise treat those from the lower socio-economic strata of society. If we really want to examine the dichotomy between what we recite and our actions, look at the disregard meted out to the mentally challenged men and women on our streets who cannot contribute to the production of goods and services or play a part in the political process.

About a month ago, it was reported in the news that a mentally challenged man disarmed a police officer. A few days later, we were again apprised of Mario Deane's detriment as a result of being housed in a detention centre among alleged mentally challenged detainees. I can't seem to forget the Jeffery Perry massacre of his relatives in Killancholy, St Mary, a few years ago.

We can all conclude, we cannot all be doctors, lawyers, politicians, leaders of parliament, or opposition, but as a nation and a people working together to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business, this utopic aspiration will not be achieved if we fail to care for the mentally challenged. When we care for the mentally ill, we are improving public safety and the security of all.

Ian Henry

Scotts Hall, St Mary