Thu | Feb 2, 2023

Everybody is fiddling!

Published:Monday | April 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Rome is burning while Nero fiddles. The prime minister, as well as the Opposition leader, seem painfully incapable of bringing any true leadership to spurn the decadence and sense of civil unrest in Jamaica.

The Gleaner has started what is a very frightening report on our murder rate which, at the time of writing, was 500 in 112 days. The question may well be asked, what is the purpose of printing this and bringing gloom and doom to haunt us?

It is clear that we cannot behave like an ostrich and bury our heads in the sand. As a nation, we need to recognise what is happening to us and 'bawl out'. We must not remain silent.

Where are the civic groups and organisations? Lions clubs, Kiwanis, Leos, ministers' fraternals, Jamaicans for Justice, citizens' associations, Hear the Children's Cry, Families Against State Terrorism, students' councils, students' guilds in the universities and church groups? Everybody is guilty of fiddling while Rome burns.

Safety most important

I was taken aback when I read the report of the prime minister's contribution to the recent budget debate. Is he serious in citing figures showing Jamaica's growth? True or false, which Jamaican is interested in any percentage growth rate that cannot and does not translate into a system where persons feel safe and secure in their homes?

Our murder rate is approximately 4.5 per day!!! This is more than alarming. A colleague of mine confided that as he observes Jamaica's situation and anxiously follows The Gleaner statistics every day, he wonders whether he or any member of his family will become a statistic.

Mr Prime Minister, ask 'Farmer Joe' if he had a choice between an increasing growth rate measured in percentages and a rapidly decreasing peace of mind with no reassurance that he can go to his bed without worrying that thieves will break down his home, rape his wife and children and then cold-bloodedly murder them, which he would choose. Ask Farmer Joe that question.

The persons in Government have demonstrated a marked lack of initiative, no vision and, frankly, absolutely no leadership capability. This, unfortunately, applies across the aisle. We ordinary Jamaicans do not have a slew of bodyguards, are not whisked into air-conditioned comfort to our various engagements, so, frankly speaking, members of our Government are far removed from the plight of the people.

Of course, when it comes on to election time and they are on the campaign trail, they disingenuously pretend that they feel our pain. Let us not be fooled or lulled into any false sense of security. Jamaicans, it is time for us to 'bawl out' and 'cry out' like a woman in labour. We must hold these persons accountable and demand effective governance.

No crime plan

Where is the crime plan that is going to stem the tide of barking guns and the swiftly wielded knives and machetes? Commissioner Owen Ellington asks for the help of the citizens of this country but, sir, you need to wake up!

As long as you have policemen who are being charged with all manner of criminal activities, and as long as trust remains an elusive ideal between the people and the police, no well-thinking Jamaican will partner with the security force, especially in regards to intelligence. To put it mildly, "we no trust oonoo".

It seems to me that while the commissioner was busy negotiating his salary package, some serious attention should have been paid to devising strategies to relentlessly pursue the criminal elements in society with a view to stopping the bloodletting. If you cannot do it, step aside and give the job to someone else.

I am, etc.,