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EDITORIAL: Lawlessness points to societal collapse

Published:Saturday | March 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The shameful display of men scavenging for Heineken beer in the aftermath of a deadly accident on the Linstead bypass on Thursday demonstrates just how desperate our people have become. We are used to seeing such acts being played out on a smaller scale at accident scenes, but somehow there was a more desperate tone to this recent incident because not even the presence of the police served as a deterrent.

But most shocking of all was the image of two little boys, who appear to be between ages eight and 10, sipping beer in full view of adults. Yes, boys will be boys, but what about the adults who should be setting an example for them? Was there no one to reprimand them?

For many people, this may not seem like an incident that merits editorial comment, for they would probably argue that men were simply having a few beers which fell off a truck. We have become far too tolerant as a people. The truth is, such acts that promote lawlessness and flagrant disregard for people's property point to a fundamental societal collapse.

Children are copying adult behaviour and we can only expect them to continue the cycle of lawlessness which manifests itself in gang warfare, murder and mayhem. In many regards, Thursday's incident sadly indicates that there is no light at the end of the dismal tunnel of lawlessness that we face.

Jamaica 'crying out'

Jamaica is crying out for wise leadership to steer the country out of its current malaise and retrieve its reputation for observing law and order. Sadly, this Government appears to have lost the moral authority to govern, for each day Jamaica is being battered in the international arena for examples of poor governance. In opposition, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) was strident about corruption and its various revelations of scandals in the public sector appeared to send a signal that, if elected, there would be dramatic changes in Jamaica House. But now that the JLP is the Government, it appears not to have the stomach to eradicate corruption or to govern decisively.

We did not really need the United States Department of State's annual international Narcotics Control Strategy Report to tell us that the Government's commitment to the war on crime cannot be taken seriously. For example, despite the talk about the war on drugs, local efforts by the police to arrest drug kingpins have failed miserably, supporting the general feeling that drug lords and so-called area dons will continue to go about their criminal business because they know they will never be prosecuted on Jamaican soil.

The recent tug of war between Washington and Kingston over the extradition request for an alleged drug kingpin of Prime Minister Golding's Tivoli Gardens enclave has plunged the Government into a crisis of credibility. Words such as "transparency", "accountability" and "corruption" used to roll off Mr Golding's tongue much more smoothly when he was in opposition. We believe he needs to revisit some of those utterances and show us that he was sincere then.

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