opportunities at poor, violent groups of young men who took the money, bought guns and caused mayhem. Then the European governments recognised the errors and began a process of genuine inclusion and sent young men back to school and the violence problem disappeared gradually.
Why do urban young men who are poor and psychologically broken make mayhem when they get money suddenly? First, they do not trust the ‘system’. They know nobody cares. They will tell you that it’s just “me and me mother”.
THE OTHER SIDE
In two-thirds of cases, there is no father. Had these young men been treated like included social beings by society, they would know what to do with their illgotten gains – just like the educated and socially included have done. You may not know, but the other side of the lotto scam crisis is the educated and socially included.
Second, the young men use the tools of violence that they know – guns. Every out-of-school shotta in Montego Bay I have spoken to recently (35) has bought better weapons with lotto scam money. Yet every in-school (tertiary included) scammer (29) that I have spoken to is investing in education and/or business. Since 2004, I have been begging the Government of Jamaica to address the education plight of boys.
Third, lotto is temporary money. It is not a trade or a skill or long-term money or employment – but guns can secure long-term (until death) money for self and family. If young men had something more secure than a gun, they would take it (see ‘The Adolescents of Urban St Catherine’). Jamaica needs to give them a better sense of security – education.