WE ARE SPINELESS AND IN­COM­PE­TENT

The Star (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE -

n an­other note, a bus filled with peo­ple watched a thief rob and kill a school­boy and did noth­ing. Sad state of af­fairs.” Those were the words my for­mer col­league, Leighton Wil­liams, posted on his Face­book page fol­low­ing news of the in­ci­dent in which a 14-year-old Ja­maica Col­lege stu­dent was robbed of his phone and stabbed to death on a bus full of pas­sen­gers on Wed­nes­day. This is the same week when a man ac­cused of killing a teenager nearly five years ago walked away from the charge be­cause of a lack of ev­i­dence. These two tragic oc­cur­rences send a mes­sage that is loud and clear for all the world to see: We are a spineless and in­com­pe­tent peo­ple. I get that we are a young democ­racy only 54 years into our – to use a term very loosely – in­de­pen­dence. How­ever, there are cer­tain things that we don’t need 500 years to get right. Hav­ing an ef­fi­cient jus­tice sys­tem and stand­ing up for what is right are things that we should be get­ting right be­cause these are the low-hang­ing fruit. Tell me, for ex­am­ple, how a bus full of peo­ple can be so im­mo­bilised by a man weild­ing a knife, prey­ing on a 14-year-old stu­dent? Am I to be­lieve that there was not one per­son on that bus who was will­ing to stand up for what is right? If this is ac­tu­ally the case, then we can­not then turn around and blame the po­lice, or the author­i­ties in gen­eral, for the state we find our­selves in with re­gard to the man­ner in which crim­i­nals have and are over­run­ning this coun­try. As much as we be­lieve these to be two sep­a­rate cases, they are in­strin­si­cally linked and it is why we suf­fer so much. As I have said on so many other oc­ca­sions in this space, we are our own worst en­emy. We sit on our hands and ex­pect the world to change and then com­plain that it doesn’t.

What kind of fools are we when we fail to recog­nise that we are the prob­lem!

These past few months, we have been look­ing on at the United States and won­der­ing what kind of fools be­lieve Don­ald Trump would make a great pres­i­dent.

IG­NORE PO­TEN­TIAL DIS­AS­TER

But how are we dif­fer­ent? We stare re­al­ity in the face and com­pletely ig­nore the po­ten­tial dis­as­ter star­ing right back at us.

The po­lice have asked that any­one who was a wit­ness to this heinous crime against Ni­cholas Fran­cis, who was not only stabbed but also thrown from the bus and later died in hospi­tal, to pass on what they know to the po­lice. I am will­ing to take bets that their wait will be long and fu­tile.

“We must stand to­gether against crimes against our chil­dren and our cit­i­zens,” de­clared Ruel Reid, ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter and for­mer JC prin­ci­pal when news of the in­ci­dent reached his ears.

He will also have an­other long and frus­trat­ing wait be­fore that ever be­comes a re­al­ity in this coun­try.

Paul Bogle and Sir Alexan­der Bus­ta­mante must be rolling in their graves be­cause this is not about to change any­time soon.

Just re­cently, ra­dio talk-show host and at­tor­ney Emily Shields called for ter­tiary stu­dents to protest the spi­ralling crime rate. The con­sen­sus among the stu­dents was, what was protest go­ing to do?

They claimed that they were busy study­ing for ex­ams and such.

I won­der if they would have even had the op­por­tu­nity to study for first de­grees if Bogle, Bus­ta­mante, Ge­orge Wil­liam Gor­don, and Gar­vey had taken sim­i­lar stances.

Clearly, they need to be re­minded that a coun­try that ig­nores its past has no fu­ture.

Send com­ments to levyl1@hot­mail.com.

JER­MAINE BARN­ABY

Tears flow down the cheek of Ja­heal Pow­ell as he grieve the death of a friend at Ja­maica Col­lege on Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 27, 2016.

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