Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Society’s failure is written across Ja

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


Diana McCaulay’s talk of society having “failed Christopher Linton” clearly touched a raw nerve. The responses came fast.

From one set, predictably, it was that the “uptown lady” chatting rubbish. ‘Dawg Paw’ was given several chances. He didn’t take them. The failure was his. As a criminal, he got what he deserved. Even if it turns out, from INDECOM investigation, to have been another case of police murder. This is the line of Mark Wignall and his ilk.

Could it be, though, that some ‘failure’ is also present in this response? This one is to not grasp the impact of the circumstances in which Christopher Linton and more than 100,000 other youth in lower-income communities find themselves. They did not create them. They were born into them.

Who created these circumstances if not the ‘society’ of middle and upper classes and the politicians (yes, voted for, too, by the lower-income citizens), where these critics belong.

These circumstances are a composite reality made up of single mothers, many who, raised that way, know only the discipline of dealing with several children, by different males, by beatings and cursing. A reality made up of sons who know only deprivation; harassment by police and periods in lock-ups; rejection when they apply for work; prolonged joblessness; examples of criminal behaviour around them; the partisan divisions formed by largely middle-class party politics; and the resulting youth gangs warring with one another.


Those were the circumstances from which Linton was plucked out of (metaphorically) and sent to a prestigious school. But do you really think that the early experience detailed above is just erased from the make-up, the psyche, of all of those so ‘rescued’?

Diana relates that the death of his brother at police hands had, in fact, a harsh effect on Linton. Do we know what effect the experience of not having a male parent in their lives had on them both? (Which is not to declare all single parenting bad or worthless. Not so at all. But on many.)

Society’s failure is written large, and daily, across Jamaica! Make no mistake about that! And our ‘lazy-Parliament’, leaderless, stalled country only talks and talks and talks.