Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Letter of the Day | Overturn Jamaica’s death culture

Published:Friday | September 15, 2023 | 12:05 AM
A policeman stands guard at a crime scene at the intersection of North and Regent streets in Kingston.
A policeman stands guard at a crime scene at the intersection of North and Regent streets in Kingston.


Another Independence Day has come and gone and we have celebrated what makes Jamaica great and wonderful.

However, that celebration has been blighted with grief and trauma as a result of the violent deaths. The effect that this has had on our society, especially on our youth, has been compounded by the increasingly frequent and more barbaric nature of that violence. Further, the resulting anxiety allows even less time to grieve. Unfortunately, many of us are living under a cloud of sadness. Instead of being emancipated and independent, many of us are held in bondage for fear that we, or our loved ones, may soon meet an untimely death. This is no way to live.

We must wake up to the realisation that Independence is not an event, but it is a process. With true independence we are interdependent with God. We possess the ability to co-create with Him the society that we envisage, and in which we can advance and uplift ourselves.

We all must agree that enough is enough. There has to be a change in our culture, from one that is numb to death, to one that is excited about life.

As a start, let us support initiatives that help to reduce violence, such as the Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee (which needs a much larger voice) and Project STAR. We should encourage programmes like Victim Services Division, Ministry of Justice. We should also take advantage of services directed at conflict resolution inour communities, such as the restorative justice centres. Last, perpetrators of violence must be made to appreciate that there are consequences for their actions.

As we proceed to the 70th year of Independence, it should be our mission to overturn this death culture, and embrace the fundamental principle that the final word must be life, not death.