We are living in stressful times, whether the sky is falling or we are merely inundated with information that it is falling may be a subject for debate. What I do know is that growing up in the 70’s was a lot simpler than life is today.
Nations grapple with myriad issues, from poverty to wars, from crime to climate change, the issues are real and they demand immediate action.
In some cases, the issues some nations face are not of their own creation.
No country is totally responsible no country is totally blameless.
Factories and foundries of large industrial nations churn out the goods and spare parts we refuse to live without, poor impoverished people in Africa and other parts of the world decimate forests for firewood and charcoal. Ultimately we all contribute to the decline, just at different levels.
With the complex issues, we face it makes sense that we do not add to the problems we are forced to deal with by creating unnecessary problems and allowing others to develop into intractable and existential ones.
I have always harbored an unhealthy disdain for politicians because I fundamentally believe they are in most cases liars who will do and say anything to get elected.
Their rapacious desire to hold onto power has been critical in shaping the directions of far too many countries.
Generally, the best interest of the larger population is sacrificed for the interest of smaller cliques with their own narrow interests.
Nowhere is this more evident than in my native Jamaica a once beautiful peaceful place with problems, like everywhere else in 1962 when the British handed over control to the natives.
In the 55 years since we have accomplished much but our accomplishments pale in comparison to our talents and abilities.
Rationally we must consider what might have been had we remained under colonial rule?
As unpalatable as that thought is and as putrid as the taste is thinking about this out loud it is inescapable in light of how things have turned out.
Truthfully my default disposition is to blame the political parties which must take responsibility for the environment they created since 1962.
Nevertheless, I cannot ignore that other factors have shaped our perceptions and realities leading to our present circumstances.
Our Schools and Colleges, business sector, our churches and NGO’s, our private and public institutions and each and every home must share in the blame for the present predicament in which we find ourselves.
A recent report revealed that the vast majority of our educated young people would leave the country if only they had the chance.
This is not new, in 2015 another such study revealed that most Jamaicans would pull up roots and move to another country if only they could.
How then does that square with the Jamaica 55 celebration and the bravado about how great Jamaica is?
Both polar points cannot be true.
The intractable crime problem deluging Jamaica should not be one of the problems the small Island of 2.7 million be dealing with today.
Unfortunately, years of failures at all levels have resulted in a behemoth that administrations of both political parties are unwilling to deal with out of fear of the fallout.
The police are projecting that murders could spiral to as high as 1,526 by the end of this year if the current trend of 4.1 homicides per day continues.
A breakdown of daily murders issued by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) on Monday showed that a total of 893 homicides have been reported since the start of this year, with the highest number, 157, committed in June.
A total of 138 murders were recorded in May, while 136 were reported in July, 123 in January, 118 in March, 109 in April, and 86 in February. The August figure stood at 26 up to the time of the NIB report.
According to the report, the year-to-date increase in murders was 159 or 21.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“The murder figure since the start of 2017 is showing an increase when compared to the corresponding period in 2016,” the NIB report stated. “Similarly, the cumulative figure for the last three days (August 4 – August 6, 2017) shows an increase of 1 or 9.1 per cent when compared to the corresponding period in 2016.”
Over the period, the highest number of murders – 117 – were reported in the St James division. This was followed by Westmoreland with 85; Clarendon with 84; St Andrew South, 76; St Catherine North, 75; Kingston West, 59; St Catherine South, 56; Hanover 40; St Andrew Central, 38; St Ann, 38; St Andrew North, 38; Kingston East, 29; Manchester, 26; Kingston Central 19; St Elizabeth, 14; St Thomas, 12; Trelawny, 12; St Mary, 11; and Portland, 4.
These numbers though stunning and indeed frightening may not tell the full story.
They represent the bodies which have been found and the reports which have been verified by law enforcement.
There is a large amount of missing persons who have not been accounted for. Additionally, in many cases, people are seriously wounded in attacks on their persons they do not die immediately as a result of those injuries but succumb to those injuries later.
Police blotters do not reflect those in the homicide data.
The Police can be more meticulous in tracking those later deaths from their own investigations, bringing the data up to speed to reflect in a more comprehensive way those delayed homicide cases.
The latest report released by police does not include the cases of felonious woundings and attempted murders which ought to be processed alongside and simultaneously with the homicide numbers as well, in order to fully grasp the seriousness of the violence.
The most consequential issue influencing crime on the Island and the way it is being responded to is the failure of the population to fully appreciate that it is a clear and present danger.
The dangerous narrative which has infected the body politic is that there is crime everywhere and that all people have to do is steer clear of certain areas.
Tell that to Mr. Ramdial who was gunned down in his car as he drove on an uptown city street.
Tell that to the countless people who were not involved in lotto scamming yet they lost their lives at the hands of mindless killers whose claim to fame is an automatic weapon, bullets to spare and a desire to kill.
The idea that only people who engage in lotto scamming or people who are mixed up in crime are getting killed is not cutting it anymore.
The notion that keeping one’s eyes closed and lips sealed is a way to avoid getting killed is insane in as much as it is retarded conceptually.
That kind of surrender to the worst elements in society is a testament that as a country Jamaicans have run out of ideas and are crying out for help.
Nevertheless, the attitudes of Jamaicans as it relates to what is necessary to squash those who would disrupt the society is a large part of the reason the problem persists and is getting worse.
The real truth of the matter is that closer to 2555 Jamaicans are being murdered each year.
If that number doesn’t terrify you then multiply that by ten. If the idea of over 25.000 dead people over a decade does not absolutely jolt you this article is not for you.