Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Letter of the Day | Heroes of St Thomas

Published:Monday | October 18, 2021 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

When we think of a hero from St Thomas, the name Paul Bogle comes to mind. However, from now on we will also think of more than 450 nameless heroes from the parish who, together with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), went on a relentless search for nine-year-old Phylisa Prussia, who was abducted from her home on October 14, 2021.

Indeed, it is significant that the events, including her triumphant rescue on October 16, 2021, occurred days from our annual celebration of National Heroes Day.

Crime is so commonplace in Jamaica, to the extent that we are sometimes immune. But young Phylisa drew the attention of the entire nation, not just because the crime was highlighted in the news, but largely due to the fact that the residents of Bath, St Thomas, ensured that this wouldn’t be just another headline or crime lost in growing statistics.

The gripping imagery of ordinary Jamaicans walking and running non-stop on streets and in the woods, gave us hope as we prayed for her safe return. The elderly woman with the machete in hand said she meant business. And this signal of togetherness is possibly what saved her life, as her abductor saw that Bogle’s spirit was alive and well in St Thomas. The ancestors spoke and the people of Bath listened, while we cheered them on in lengthy threads on social media.

It is the spirit of collective responsibility that we all need to have within us to fight the scourge of crime, as the JCF cannot do it alone.

I thought of Jasmine Dean and wondered whether her father would have had closure today, had we dug deep to find that spirit, come together, and search for that young lady.

BRAVERY IN NUMBERS

Many of us are afraid, so we remain locked inside the safety of our homes hoping for the best when these things happen, hoping we won’t be next. But, they don’t always have to win. There’s bravery to be found in numbers.

Phylisa is now safe, but her abductor is still on the loose. The police have indicated a person of interest. It is still up to us as citizens across the 14 parishes to keep his identity etched in our memory and tell the police if we ever come across him.

They say “it takes a village to raise a child.” The people of Bath, St Thomas, have proven that this is not just a saying. Paul Bogle would have been proud of this modern-day rebellion in his parish.

Happy Heroes Day, Jamaica!

SUZETTE CAMPBELL