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Monday, March 16, 2009

Is Jamaican Really Hurting?

In February of this year the Jamaica Gleaner wrote an article titled, " Jamaica-A Hurting Nation." I don't know why the title upset me. Is Jamaica going through a sea of violence within the last decade? Yes, is the situation getting worst. I don't think so. I think change is happening. Not at the rate people would like but still it is coming..

I feel that as the government realizes (and it does realize) the impact of crime on its tourist industry that things are slowly changing. One thing that is changing is "fear." It use to be that you could not get people to come forward to identify, much less testify against the "bad man" in Jamaica, but things are changing.

In 2005, Jamaica had 1,674 murders (64.10 per 100,000 people), giving the country the unenviable reputation of having the highest murder rate in the world that year. Hope was raised by a small reduction in 2007. We witnessed 70 people were murdered within the first 20 days of the 2009. We also witnessed though that most of the crimes committed in Jamaica last year were what the police have described as gang-related incidents. As people are not becoming sick and tired of being prisoners in their own homes an victims, they are turning towards their own communities for support.

In Saint Andrew, The St Andrew South police division includes troubled communities such as Waterhouse, Drewsland, Seaview Gardens, Riverton City and Olympic Gardens. These were names years ago that were Rema, Tivioli Gardens, Trenchtown..and the list continues. The name changes but the violence stays the same.

I spoke to some friends of mine who came back from Jamaica last week. They said Irie we had a ball mon! They pointed out that like any country, you have to know where to go and have some sort of guidance on the island. You have to make sure you are safe anywhere you go in life. I agree. Fear is something that can keep a man down.

Do I fear going back to Jamaica ? No I don't because Jamaica is and will always be my home. Jamaica (the country itself) is not hurting, however the people in Jamaica are hurting-hurting for jobs, a better economic standing, less restraints on importing and exporting, more funding for education and the list goes on.

....but isn't (in these current economic times) all countries are now hurting for?

I feel a newspaper needs to build up hope in its society, not bring it down. I wrote to the Gleaner (my letter is probably still in someone's harddrive), to let them know that Jamaicans abroad "know" about the violent situations, but would love to see them focus more on some of the more positive aspects of Jamaica. How about more success stories on the front page.

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