Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Holness pleads for end to violence

Published:Monday | August 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second right) lights a candle with (from left) Ian Bell, councillor for the Beecher Town division in St Ann; Olivia Grange, minister of entertainment, sport, culture and gender affairs; Shahine Robinson, member of parliament for North East St Ann; and Juliet Holness, the prime minister's wife and member of parliament for East Rural St Andrew, during the Emancipation Jubilee at Seville Heritage Park in St Ann yesterday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is appealing to Jamaicans to put an end to violence.

Using the platform of Emancipation Jubilee at Seville Heritage Park in

St Ann, Holness pleaded with all sectors of the society to work together to make Jamaica the paradise it was destined to be.

Holness described Jamaica's culture of violence as a remnant of slavery that was enforced through violent means, such as the use of the whip.

"We are out of slavery 178 years. As a people, we were in slavery 340 years before that, so tonight, while we celebrate the end of slavery, our freedom, we must reflect that as a people we have been enslaved longer than we have been free," he said.

"We have not, as a society, fully overcome slavery, and one element of slavery that still permeates, pervades, directs, influences, conditions and cultures us is violence."

He added: "We come here to celebrate because we are now a free people with our own volition to make the country that we want, and one of the things that we as a people must agree on is that the Jamaican State, our law and authority, and we as a people, how we deal with each other, the Jamaican State should not use violence as a means of social control, that the people must not use violence as a currency for social interaction."


Forge better future


Holness said Jamaicans should immediately seek to forge a better future with less violence.

"I want to use this platform tonight to appeal to all Jamaica: Let us reject

violence as a means of resolving conflict. Let us use our freedom to build a more peaceful and loving and caring society."

Holness led the audience in lighting candles before heading a team that included Members of Parliament Shahine Robinson and Juliet Holness and Custos Norma Walters to place wreaths on the tombs that contain the remains of four slaves.

This ritual is performed annually during the Emancipation Jubilee and follows the reciting of the proclamation that was read announcing an end to slavery nearly two centuries ago.