Letter of the Day | Why preferential treatment for some?
THE EDITOR, Madam:
I AM writing regarding the disparate treatment of poor people during the coronavirus outbreak.
Popular entertainers Moses Davis, aka Beenie Man, and Rodney Price, aka Bounty Killer, violated the curfew when they performed at a Kingston recording studio after 8 p.m. a week ago. The performance was streamed live on the Internet and almost half a million people from all over the world watched.
Even the prime minster, watched according to one of his many tweets. Neither Mr Davis nor Mr Price followed the social-distancing protocol. Furthermore, they were not wearing masks and there appeared to be more than 10 people on the premises.
Police officers went to the studio but despite the number of witnesses, no one was questioned, ticketed or arrested. In ‘Trumpian’ fashion, the prime minister attempted to rationalise the entertainers’ blatant violation of the curfew regulations that his Government implemented.
On the other hand, when a poor father, Dayne Mitchell, violated the curfew, he was hunted down and immediately arrested. Moreover, the security forces killed Carmichael Dawkins and Jevaughn Duhaney while enforcing the curfew.
The same concessions made for Mr Davis and Mr Price should have been made for all the other violators of the curfew, some of whom violated through no fault of their own.
Additionally, security forces recently killed Susan Bogle, a poor, defenceless, disabled mother in her home. Would such a senseless killing happen in a middle-class neighbourhood? Would soldiers kill tourists in a resort? There appears to be two sets of rules in Jamaica: one for the haves and far less merciful ones for the have-nots. A thorough investigation needs to be carried out in the Susan Bogle case, and all perpetrators should be brought to justice.
Protests are raging in cities like Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Atlanta as a result of a brutal police killing caught on video, but Jamaica has a far worse rate of police killings per capita than the United States. And the security forces are almost never punished for their crimes. Yet the streets are empty. Not a protest in sight. Where are the students, preachers, academics, entertainers or the human rights organisations? Have we all been scared into silence? Have we been lulled into compliance? Peaceful protests have changed situations far worse than ours.
I certainly lament my current inability to make more unforgettable memories a yaad, but Jamaica just doesn’t seem like home right now.