Sat | Mar 25, 2023

Letter of the Day | Community groups key to solving crime problem

Published:Tuesday | August 9, 2022 | 12:06 AM


We are a great nation because of our people. Our dominance in sports, music and the arts have won us international acclaim. However, crime and violence has tarnished our image and reputation in much the same way it has damaged the emotion and well-being of our people.

As a proud Jamaican, I want to see a safer and more peaceful country. I think about the Jamaica my two children will inherit when they are adults.

It is not the macro security measures, such as tough gun-control laws, limitations in the granting of bail, special units to dismantle gangs and lottery scamming, that are going to break the back of crime. All these measures are necessary in part, but I think we have to first look at a micromanagement approach to build safer communities and a safer country.

I think that if we can reimagine our community groups, such as our citizens’ associations and neighbourhood watch groups, along with a national mentorship programme targeting the young people, we could reclaim the soul of Jamaica. With the use of technology, these community groups can be empowered to play a more active role in fighting crime.

We have adopted a very selfish and impersonal way of living which is not part of the indigenous Jamaican character. Too many of us don’t even know our neighbour’s name. Too many of us refuse to extend a ladder to help someone succeed, despite us having reached the ‘top of the building’. Very often we see many of us celebrating our successes and accomplishments. But we can’t find the time to lift someone up because we are only concerned with self-aggrandisement, and no regard for the common good.

If we are going to reclaim the soul of Jamaica, it will require us looking out for each other and break down the walls of selfishness, instead of allowing these walls to break us down. If each of us could make a commitment to join a community group and give of our time, talent, resources, and seek to mentor at least one troubled youth in our community, it would make a huge impact.

As we enjoy the pleasant memories of our 60th anniversary of Independence, let us not lose sight of the giant work that lies ahead, if we are to reclaim the soul of Jamaica as a country of one love! Let us start with the man in the mirror. The word is always love.


President Spalding Citizens’ Association