Jamaica's poor have been left to the mercy of violent criminal gangs, Amnesty International says in a new report.  The human rights group said inner-city Jamaicans were being "held hostage" in the battle between gangs and the state. Amnesty said Jamaican authorities had stigmatized and "wilfully neglected" inner-city communities. Jamaica has one of the region's highest murder rates, with 1,500 homicides in 2007 and 272 police killings.

"Criminal gangs... keep thousands of people living in constant fear", Amnesty's Fernanda Doz Costa said. "Entire populations are shut down by barricades and unable to leave their homes after 5pm. Children don't go out to school and adults don't go to work because transport is suspended". The human rights group urged Jamaican authorities to address the underlying causes of what it said was a "human rights crisis". It said the government should act to reduce murder rates, introduce human-rights based policing and reform the judicial system.

Nothing new

The above 2 paragraphs have been copied from a BBC Internet article, posted on 1 April 2008. This may be April Fool's day, but the report is no joke. And it is basically true. Jamaica just cannot get its criminality problem under control. Other Caribbean countries have similar problems, although not (yet) as severe as Jamaica. The problem has a long history, with roots in slavery, piracy, capitalism and socialism. The problem is not new and can only be solved by economic and social justice, supported by judicial and spiritual measures. It will take time

Now, the slavery root may be obvious. There is still a lot of anger in Jamaica about its past. Slavery was criminally brutal and inculcated a corresponding mentality. Without defending slavery at all, we do point out, however, that it was an accepted societal institution at the time, existing in all parts of the world from the beginning of human history. Also in Africa. In fact, black African traders participated in the slave trade. It was not until the 18th century that European humanism and liberalism abolished slavery and established democracy. Not Christianity, nor Islam, but humanism and liberalism triggered these historic changes. 

Slavery exists today in Africa and Haiti

To this very day in some African countries (Niger, for instance) conditions akin to slavery exist. Haitian ‘rest-avecs' have a similar position, although it is poverty which causes it there (not the profit motive). And with this remark it is clear where capitalism contributes to the problem of criminality. The capitalist will make money without regard to people. Many capitalists behave and think like this to this very day, not heeding Pope John-Paul II's admonishment that the people are not there for the economy, but that the economy is there for the people!

A shameful example of this upside-down capitalist thinking is a recent economic study about immigration in Curaçao. The study pointed out that illegal immigration is profitable. To make sure the illegals do not become cocky, once in a while a well-publicized razzia should be held to expel a few of them. But not too many, for our economy needs them to work and keep wages down. For as long as they have no legal residence, they'll work for anything, forcing all wages down. Thus Capitalist thinking would purposely perpetuate the illegal immigration for economic reasons. The razzia's are just a show to keep the situation as it is. This breeds crime. This is raw capitalism for you.

But socialism is not much better

Whenever one criticizes capitalism, everybody immediately brands you a socialist. This is wrong thinking. We need both capitalism and socialism fused into a new improved system, combining the best and eliminating the worst of both. This is the Third Way of Justice and Realism about which we have written frequently. It is the new Paradigm of Peace and Abundance. Unless we adopt this new system, criminality and war will not let up.     

It is a paradigm based on interfaith spirituality, including all religions and all races. It is the only basis for true democracy, in which everybody will have a sufficient capital base to live off. We know this may sound too good to be true, but it is there waiting for us. We just have to pick it up. We should abandon the old conflict between right and left, between capitalist and socialist, between religions and races. It simply does not make sense.

Judicial measures

Everybody knows there should be a system of law to investigate crime and punish wrong-doing. Judicial measures (police and criminal courts) are necessary. But unless it functions within a system of social and economic justice, the criminal justice system will not be able to control criminality. And it is only too obvious why this is so.

How can a society be free from crime, if more than half of the population lives in squalor and despair? The Jamaicans know this simple truth. No matter how hard the government may want to clamp down on crime, it will continue to rear its head. Many Jamaicans believe robbing and stealing from the rich (especially whites) is justified. And this belief slides into robbing and stealing each other as well. Jamaica has a very serious crime problem and everyone in the Caribbean knows it. The truth is that at this moment we are simply not dealing with it.

Poverty in itself is a crime

Unless a credible system leading to social and economic justice is introduced, crime in any country will remain ultimately incontrollable for the very good reason that poverty in itself is a crime. Crime breeds crime. Think about it.   

The selected video, especially the song at the end, explains the situation better. We hope to be able to bring better news in our next ‘connect'. 

Comments

  • Christina Aisha Gonzalez - 13 November 2009

    I wish the writer had gone into more details about the slavery system having impact on jamaica’s crime rate. As in my opinion it has affected ethnic groups’ behavioral pattern globally but how specifically the jamaican society? is slavery the reason we are all impoverished? the point needs extended research. It is unfortunate that the jamaican crime rate has got so high, is it that the relevant authorities allow it to? I am quite sure there are societies with far poorer economies than jamaica and their crime rate is as of yet not as high!! Is the police/security team efficient? ...The society is spoilt they are obviously used to being treated as a 1st world country when they are actually 3rd..this is all good but what happens when the 3rd world government can only provide for a 3rd world country?? The crimes comitted are slack. it is too easy to just become apart of a gang…school children are loose and too involved in adult behaviour…there are so many aspects apart from poverty that affect the behaviour of the jamaican society. How then would you explain the crimes being comitted by the rich? by the very government??...research is needed!!

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