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LETTER OF THE DAY - Hanging is not the answer

Published:Monday | March 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor
, Sir:

I am very disappointed to hear people to whom we should be looking for moral guidance saying that hanging will solve our crime problems. How can pastors support hanging? God is a forgiving God, so we should be too.

The situation the nation is in today is because those who call themselves leaders fail to set moral standards for the youth. As leader of a youth club, I had to make a tough decision some years ago, in the case of a wealthy man who came to our community and everywhere he went, an entourage followed him.

I received a message from him one day requesting a list of the club's needs. In no time, it was on the streets that this man was going to sponsor the club. I called for a club meeting that night and surprisingly about 100 members turned up. This was not the norm. There was an air of excitement and many had their list of things that they thought were needed.

Offer appreciated

Almost everyone was glad for the offer as most team members were unemployed or attending school. Some even had to borrow boots and socks when we had football matches. In an address to the meeting that night, I told them that the leader had a bigger responsibility than just to provide sports gear; that I had to uphold morals while leading them and that I would not accept the man's offer because I had good reason to believe that his activities were questionable.

There was total silence in the meeting room. They were shocked! They were disappointed, but they respected my decision. Today, about 15 members from the group have become members of the police force or the army. Some have become educators.

Judging too soon

One year ago, I attended a graduation ceremony at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. While looking on and noting that two of the doctors graduating that day had been members of my club at the time of the incident, I had to say to myself that the problem with Jamaica was not that the youth do not listen. The problem is that we sometimes assume that they will not, so we fail to take a stand.

The solution to our murder rate therefore lies not in hanging, but in the guidance of the youth, even at the risk of becoming unpopular. If we guide them into being forgiving, there would be fewer murders.

There is so much bitterness in revenge, but forgiveness is a tonic to the soul.

I am, etc.,