Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Your Island Life dramas baby leave me out...

Back here in good ol' "Middle Earth", when describing Jamaica most of us would allude to the reggae music of Bob Marley, sun soaked beaches, coffee plantations, good ganja herb and having one of the highest murder rates per ca pita in the entire world.....(In 2005, Jamaica had 1,674 murders for a murder rate of 64.10 per 100,000 people)

NO WAIT! REALLY?? Yes young Padawons, Jamrock ain't all sunshine and Mango kisses.

Unfortunately when you owe millions of $ in international debt to the World Bank and IMF, have a corrupt political system and are generally considered third world - a few small cracks can turn in to deep gully's over time.

The major article in the Jamaican Gleaner this week reads that Human Rights activists are questioning some of the requests Bruce Golding (the Prime Minister) is trying to administer upon the general public.

His Xmas list goes a little something like this:

  • Amend law to allow a person to be detained for up to 72 hours without being charged once authorised by a police officer at the level of assistant commissioner or higher.
  • Refuse bail for serious crimes and repeat offenders for the first 60 days with provision for the prosecution to appeal against granting bail.
  • Right to non-invasive DNA, such as a mouth swab from a person charged with an offence
  • Establish a DNA database.
  • Amend evidence act to allow for witnesses to provide testimony via videotape. This system could provide protection for witnesses.
  • Provide for majority verdict in non-capital murder. The law would be amended to allow for conviction by a minimum of nine out of 12 jurors.

These are some of the "solutions" offered up to combat the level of violence on the streets of Jamtown. It has been reported in a recent survey done on a few Jamaican Secondary schools one in 4 students are armed with weapons ranging from knives, icepicks and unfortunately ....... Guns.

One guy in the thick of it is sociologist and senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies Dr Orville Taylor. He has given his time to talk with new entrance police officers advising the "need to expose good principles and not continue as slaves for the plantocracy that still exists in Jamaica".

He implored them "to spark the change, as each person they prosecute on the road must be thought of as they would see themselves". Considering the amount murders going on in the garrisons, its encouraging to know that positive steps are being taken to empower and educate the young municipal officers rather then arm them to the teeth.

This little Island has had a rough and patchy past, from the pirate ports of Montego Bay run by Capt. Henry Morgan to plantation slavery and the final surge of Jamaican independence in 1962. But what you don't see now is the aftermath of that reach for independence.

Jamaica is a layered hotbed of politics, parish's and poverty and the divide between rich and poor is too wide to fathom.

For more info about Jamaica's current financial strife check out Stephanie Black’s 2001 documentary "Life after Debt" here's the trailer ...

And on the topic of Jamaica check this video of an artist by the name of Bugle. If this doesn't spell out how tings agwan in Kingston then i don't know what does??

So the next time your at a Grey Lyn party and some hippie is trying to tell you that reggae music is all about One Love - you can shake him/her by the seashell infested dreads and tell em whats what!

Ma te wa Detoxers ... catch u up!

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