Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jamaica's promise and Tivoli's emancipation

Bruce Walker, inspiring student from Tivoli Gardens

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Monday, September 20, 2010

MY head spinning with various local issues, I decided to Google “Jamaica” and click on some of the links. Wikipedia says, “Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles…situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 miles) south of Cuba, and 190 kilometres (120 miles) west of Hispaniola.”

What Wikipedia does not tell us is that if you spread out the map of the Americas, Jamaica is at its crossroads, the third largest English-speaking country in this side of the world. Being an English speaker makes you a world citizen – English-speaking tourists and investors enjoy easy communication with our workers and Jamaicans segue smoothly into the workplaces of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Even without planting, seeds grow here, watered by our numerous rivers and springs, and yielding the most intense flavours in the world. In short, Jamaica has extraordinary attributes that have not been leveraged because of the crime and coarseness visited upon us for nearly 40 years by so-called “leaders”.

Continuing our virtual journey through Jamaica via Google, we see Xavier Murphy's www.jamaicans.com started as an after-work hobby at his home in Florida, and now in the top five Jamaican sites on Google. There is an interview by Jennifer Lumley with Jamaican Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to England's House of Commons.

Despite the prestige of her new post, the goodly pastor says, “My greatest accomplishment is to be a mother to my children, a wife to my husband and a priest and friend to the people of God given to my care. Cleaning up after an elderly parishioner is more important to me than a title.” She said she hopes to have “a positive, wholesome effect” on the diaspora: “They should never forget God's goodness and they can see the effect of God's love become reality.”

The JIS website – www.jis.gov.jm – reminds us of God's goodness with a heart-warming story about Bruce Walker, a St George's College sixth former and resident of Tivoli Gardens, who kept his focus during the May security operation, and was successful in the demanding CAPE examinations. “On the days when he had to sit the examinations, Bruce says he was escorted by the police out of Tivoli Gardens, and he stayed with a schoolmate's family and from there, went to the sittings at Ardenne High School,” reports Alphea Saunders.

Walker “speaks with pride and respect about his father, Melbourn Walker, describing him as a disciplinarian and the ‘backbone’ of his family, which includes three siblings, and his mother”.

Saunders quotes him on the transformation he sees taking place in his community: “You don't see people on the road as much. It's just different. If you live there, you can feel the difference in the people. Probably after this, children will start to stay in more and do their schoolwork." After its night of mourning, the community may finally be seeing a day of joy, an emancipation from mental slavery.

The report says Walker “believes that eventually Tivoli Gardens will be a better place, as the residents' eyes have been opened to a new reality, a new way of life”.

Does the transformation in Tivoli have anything to do with the continued lowering of the murder rate since June? Before my PNP friends come after me for actually saying something good about Jamaica, let me remind them that we are talking about Jamaican lives – not PNP or JLP – that have been spared.

The Observer website reports that, speaking at a recent private sector conference, Jamaica Defence Force's Head of Communications Colonel Rocky Meade said the events of May 23 – when organised criminal gangs in West Kingston launched their attack on the security forces – demonstrated that criminal elements were willing and had some ability to challenge the state.

“You've all got to realise what the illness was, but the illness is not yet cured,” Meade said. “The operation must be sustained and continued emergency powers would have further strengthened the security forces' efforts.”

Last Wednesday, the Jamaica Constabulary Force reported on the latest crime statistics. It turns out that in the three months after the Western Kingston operation, Jamaica has seen a significant decrease in murders, with August being the third consecutive month that the number of murders fell below 100. There were 81 murders committed last month, compared to 139 in August 2009, the best statistic for any one month since the start of the year.

"The overall figures for recorded murders from the start of the year to the end of August show a total decrease of 59 murders,” said a JCF release.

Even as we rightly demand that our leaders give us the facts, we should acknowledge that Jamaica has taken a step in the right direction in our fight against crime. We are puzzled over this back and forth between the PM and Harold Brady. As a colleague of mine said, PM Golding should not have even answered the question about Brady's membership in the party – he has a general secretary to deal with such matters.

What is happening to this prime minister who is legendary for his thorough approach to projects, his deep reading, quick grasp and analytical response? Could the answer lie in the very few hours of sleep he is taking? We hear stories about him, working late into the night and being back at his desk early in the morning. If this is a regular occurrence, it must take its toll. Studies are now showing that sleeping less than six hours per night can have a deleterious effect on our concentration and general good health. Has PM Golding become a victim of his own dedication?

Whatever decision he makes about remaining in office, history will remember that it was under Bruce Golding's watch that Tivoli Gardens took its rightful place as a community where its decent citizens were finally allowed to earn more respect than they had received for over three decades.

“Leader-ship” is a hard one to steer – let us see if the JLP captain can manoeuvre his vessel through these stormy waters.


Jah Selassi
Here we go with circular logics again. If a corrupted leader , in a desperate act to save his own dirty political future cleans up his own crime invested community he is now a hero. This madness must stop. Bruce is not hero, he is the worst of the worst. His motto is "Bruce for Bruce all time, no matter the price". After World War 1 Hilter brought back structure to the German population, should we hail him as a hero too?
george watson
I keep asking if this writer is the public relations representative. Why wont the Observer publish the posts.
I guess Facebook will provide the answer.
Ruby Shim
The small-minded among us will not give credit where it's due if it is not credited to the PNP. They will remain ever partisan and cannot see beyond their orange colour. What has the PNP ever done to clean up garrison politics. It will remain with us as long as the politicians see it as a way of it helping them to gain/remain in power. It was a brave move by Mr Golding and I sincerely hope other politicians will seek to rid their own constituency of the dons.
Kram Blake
It is an unquestionable fact that murder is down. We are pleased. The records show that it was under the JLP that it happened. Even if it was because of the incursion in Tivoli or SOE does that really matter? It was not the first incursion in Tivoli. We must give credit where credit is due.
Wharf Dawg
Jamaica has seen a significant decrease in murders, with August being the third consecutive month that the number of murders fell below 100. Stop the press!
I thought the State of Emergency was the reason why crime fell. Why is it continuing to fall?
Perhaps Mr Bunting was right after all. No safe haven means criminals are not as bold and if you noticed the arrest rates after crimes has also gone up.. Yes indeed Mr Bunting was RIGHT!!
Martial Law
Just goes to show that Tivoli was created as a criminal enterprise and hitting Tivoli Gardens lowers crime significantly. Tivoli should have been dealt with from it was in infancy. The security forces have always known this. Only the hypocrites in Jamaica including the media have pretended otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment