Jamaica Gleaner - - IN FO­CUS - Herbert Gayle is an an­thro­pol­o­gist. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­

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”.


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.


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