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Payback for slavery?

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Dennie Quill, Columnist

For anyone out there who has been angered at the police for failing to apprehend the criminals and halt the burgeoning lottery scam, they should know that there is a valid explanation for its longevity.

Persons in Montego Bay and its surrounds were on television Monday night putting up a stout defence, albeit hiding their faces, as they attempted to convince the nation that nothing was wrong with unemployed youth bilking white Americans of their life savings and leaving some penniless and homeless.

"It's payback for the evils of slavery," shockingly asserted one of the Montego Bay apologists.

No mention was made of the several dozen people whose early and brutal deaths have been linked to the lottery scam. Chances are these deaths would be regarded as justified if the individuals were perceived to be standing in the scammers' way. Any kind of scam is detrimental to the victim who falls for it.

This idea of defending the scammers has reinforced what I have said repeatedly in this space: As a people, we have lost the ability to choose between what is right and what is wrong. Too few people care about what is right and honourable these days.

A society run on greed

The woman argued that the 'yute dem nuh have no work and dem have fe live'. The kind of lavish lifestyle reportedly displayed by these scammers, such as making waterfalls of champagne, gives lie to the claim of joblessness and depravity, and instead points to a culture of criminality and greed. This is a reflection of a society run on greed in which adults look the other way while enjoying the benefits of the largesse.

When the great Chinese philosopher Confucius was asked if there was one word that could guide one's life, he responded thus: "Should it not be reciprocity? What you do not wish for yourself, do not do it to others."

This concept which is replicated in the golden rule was once the mantra by which many people lived. For a country which has hundreds of churches, it seems that religion is waning in its impact because large segments of the society are now run on greed and criminality.

As a result, Jamaica is overrun by apologists who argue that it is socially acceptable for people to be robbed, exploited and abused. But all of us are complicit in these acts of greed and criminality when we fail to tell the police what we know.

Embracing sexual predators

The women who demonstrated in front of Mona Heights Primary School on Monday appear to be fully tolerant of a teacher allegedly fondling a child. They were demanding that the teacher, who is facing the courts, be reinstated, and taunted the alleged victim in a most disgraceful display of solidarity with an alleged wrongdoer. No wonder sexual predators have been emboldened to continue molesting children across the length and breadth of this island, being fully aware of the tolerance, and sometimes protection, of many mothers and guardians.

It's the same mentality of apologising for wrongdoers that apparently motivated women of Tivoli Gardens to take to the streets in 2010 in defence of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, even though he was facing serious allegations of criminal acts, including murder.

There are those who see nothing wrong in growing a 'likkle ganja' or pushing a 'likkle cocaine' or importing guns and ammunition. The end always justifies the means, and in today's self-centred world people are mostly concerned with their own survival.

It will take a lot of work to transport the majority of us to a place where we understand that a harmonious society is one in which moral uprightness is seen as desirable.

Dennie Quill is a veteran practitioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and denniequill@hotmail.com.