Fighting Crime – The Way Forward

jamaica-military-in-montego-bay-jamaica Members of the JDF - Source: News Americas Now

“One love, one heart,
Let’s get together and feel alright”

From the country that the “no problem, mon” motto has sprouted from, seems to alight frequent and senseless crimes, especially murders. The most recent news gripping the hearts of the Jamaican people was the traumatising killing of Kemisha Wright and her four children in Clarendon. The questions that are now on the tongues of every citizen appear to be, “When will it stop?”, “When will the government orchestrate a feasible crime plan?” and “When will hanging return?” However, we must pause to release that the problem with crime in the Jamaican society is everyone’s prerogative. The solution to the crime problem rests within our homes, schools, and communities.

It is said that “the home is where the heart is” and “there’s no place like home.” Indeed, a child spends the first years of his/her life at home where the first stage of socialisation is said to take place. A child is a product of their home as it is easy to tell what happens at home in interactions with children, as they tend to be less filtered about sharing the undiluted facts. This then behoves us to make a conscious effort in raising the children in the homes, not to expose them to harmful content or praise negative behaviours when they are performed. Children, once they reach a stage of understanding, should be involved in the tenets of life and be taught to make a positive contribution to society. When the lyrical content of the music at a two-year-old’s birthday party can be promoting drug abuse, crime, and illicit sexual activities, it is rather inevitable that such a child will grow up neglecting these ideas. When violence becomes a child’s preferred mode of conflict resolution then the problem is now seen outside of the home setting.

Another key component in the upbringing of a child is his/her involvement in the school system. The classroom is a culmination of various ideologies which were developed from the different homes. There now arises a battle of belief systems which continues throughout the stages of education. When negativity and corruption gain societal acclaim, children who have been subscribed to this philosophy from the home, will showcase this behaviour and the element of peer pressure will promote these undesirable behaviours. The teachers are now responsible to ensure that they not only teach from the book but from the heart and help to instil good moral principles. This element too is under attack since some teachers have accepted the popular notion of individuality, where they are no longer concerning with others but themselves. Although one may detest the argument, it is understandable for this reaction since the children have a stronger home base and are unapologetic in attacking those who should be respected, including teachers. As much as the school is responsible, the spotlight is still on the home’s responsibility.

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NDTC Set for 60th Celebrations

beige-flower-aesthetic-rustic-new-blank-template-surprise-florist-gift-love-friendship-card NDTC dancers

Preparations are in earnest for the 60th anniversary season of the National Dance Theater Company of Jamaica (NDTC).

The season which will run over four weekends (Friday to Sunday) from July 22 to August 14 — will showcase works from the group’s repertoire over the past six decades as well as new works specially choreographed for the commemorative year.

Artistic director Marlon Simms told the Jamaica Observer that patrons will be excited by the old favorites which have been revived for this signal anniversary, as well as new works which represent the growth and continuity of the company, co-founded by Rex Nettleford and Eddy Thomas in 1962, the year Jamaica gained independence from Great Britain.

“The preparations and rehearsals are intense at this time. Having been off the stage at this level for the past two years due to the pandemic means that there is a level of relaxation among the members of the company, which is understandable. So I have to meet them where they are, and encourage them to get to desired levels, because the truth is there has been no need to demand this level of rigor on their bodies over the past two years. We have to awaken the spirit and get them to that level,” Simms shared.

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Single-Visa arrangement for CARICOM proposed by Bartlett

bartlett-pic Tourism minister welcoming first commercial flight at the Ian Fleming Intl Airport

KINGSTON, Jamaica— Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says a single-visa regime among Caricom member countries should be the next critical consideration in rationalising entry protocols in the region.

“[This is] for touristic purposes and can be provided for visitors coming into your space for 30 days or three days… a simple platform that allows everybody and anybody to apply for a Caricom visa that allows you entry into all the Caricom countries,” the minister said.

He was speaking at the inauguration of scheduled commercial flights into the Ian Fleming International Airport, at Boscobel, St Mary, on Thursday, June 16.

Bartlett said the region needs to adopt a new approach to air transportation and develop new ideas about collaboration, using the support of today’s technology.

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Lopesan Costa Bavaro - Best All-Inclusive in DR

hotel-designer Lopesan Costa Bavaro Resort Spa & Casino in the Dominican Republic

I’m taking an evening walk through a winding, palm-lined avenue.

I walk by a cinema and a French brasserie, a luxury goods shop, a cigar and rum lounge and an artisanal coffee shop. Families and couples stroll by as a DJ spins Latin music for the evening. 

This could be the Bal Harbour Shops, or a Spanish village, or a high-end shopping plaza in Palm Beach or California. 

But it’s not. It’s in the heart of an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. 

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SOAD’s Inaugural Marcus Garvey Day Celebration a Success


In the aftermath of the Marcus Garvey Day (August 17), which is now on the State of the African Diaspora (SOAD) official calendar, we would like to thank Ambassador Sharon Parris-Chambers, who organized the event, which was a great success.

The day was marked by many highlights such as the panel discussion on women in the Back to Africa movement, the panel discussion on the Exodus Alliance, the alliance working to return to Africa, the documentary by RJ Mahdi and the presentation of the latest issue of the Label Diplomatique, the Pan-African magazine, which will also publish the panel presentations.

Musical interludes animated the meeting. Furthermore, as commemoration should not be a substitute for action, but rather a springboard for action, several concrete announcements were made, such as the trips to Africa organized by Lady Yaa, the Minister of Tourism of the State of the African Diaspora, trips that are naturally in line with the “Back to Africa” vision championed by Marcus Garvey.

But the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the message delivered by Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey, and an Ambassador-at-Large of the State of the Diaspora.

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Marcus Garvey Bust will be placed in the African Union Headquarters


The State of the African Diaspora expresses its gratitude to His Excellency, Chief Charumbira, President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) of the African Union (AU), who has accepted to have a representation of Marcus Garvey in Ethiopia and in South Africa, Headquarters of the AU and of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).

As a matter of fact, the campaign was initiated by Dr Julius Garvey, Marcus Garvey’s son, a few months ago. Being an ambassador at large of the State of the African Diaspora (SOAD), Dr Garvey asked Dr Tin, Prime Minister of SOAD, to also support this initiative. During the Marcus Garvey Day, celebrated on August 17th, Dr Tin officially endorsed the campaign, and the day after, wrote to Chief Charumbira, who is also the co-chair of the Royal Chamber of SOAD.

Chief Charumbira’s answer to Dr Tin was very quick and very positive. First of all, he paid a tribute to the Pan-African spirit delivered by the great Marcus Garvey. Indeed, Marcus Garvey is great not only for his vision that created the movement  “Back to Africa”, but also for his capacity to mobilise. His organisation had more than 6 millions members in more than 40 countries, in Africa and in the Diaspora. It was the biggest black organisation ever.

Chief Charumbira made it very clear : "Please count me and Pan-African Parliament as having accepted the posting both at AU and PAP of the portrait of Marcus Garvey."

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House committee approves bill to study slavery reparations for first time


By Savanna Berhmann - USA Today

WASHINGTON – Legislation to create a commission to study slavery reparations for Black Americans cleared a House committee Wednesday in a historic vote — making its way to the full House for the first time more than three decades after it was initially introduced. 

The legislation, HR 40, was first introduced 30 years ago, and now faces a full House vote. Should it pass the House, the measure would go to the evenly divided Senate. 

The House Judiciary Committee voted 25-17 Wednesday to advance the bill.

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Is Jamaica and the Wider Caribbean Rejecting the Cuban Vaccine?


Que Pasa con el Caribe y Africa? By Felipe Noguera, Deputy Coordinator of the Caribbean Regional Coordinating Committee of the Pan Africanist and Indigenous Movement.

"Love gives and forgives. Selfishness gets and forgets."

In which category do we, the people of Africa and the Caribbean fall? Can we express loving appreciation or do we consign ourselves to selfish ingratitude?

Has any country in modern history, outside of the continent of Africa, sacrificed more in life, time, blood, and resources for the liberation of Africa from the shackles of apartheid and domestic settler colonialism than Cuba?

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Music is Not the Only Monster


It has sauntered to many people’s doorsteps and others sit in terror as they hope that they will never one day be as unfortunate. The hope is that luck will not run out on that 84 year old grandmother or a relative trying to enjoy a church service. Theorists like Emile Durkheim and Robert Merton have posited that a certain amount of crime can be beneficial to society since it has the ability to improve social integration and social regulation. Whatever cap the sociologists thought of, it appears to have already been exceeded. Therefore, in an attempt to safeguard life and livelihoods, home and business owners try to protect their properties with cameras and authorities prolong ZOSOs, but none seems to be a perfect fix. When options have ran out, blame is casted, sometimes not as accurately as it should. As such, music, particularly dancehall music, has been considered the scapegoat in the issue, as the cause of crime.

Professor Donna Hope, artistes and loyal fans of the music have made attempts to salvage the reputation of the genre. The professor posited that crime and violence goes well beyond dancehall - “The problem why the music is always blamed is because dancehall has that connection with the hardcore lifestyle of Jamaica that involves guns. Dancehall comes from the garrisons, the ghettos where the guns play a big part. A lot of artistes grew up in these communities where they saw a lot of the things, they sing about playing out before their eyes.” The statement above may be suggestive that the music is a reflection of what is already happening and not the other way around.

The professor, in another instance assured that dancehall artistes are not role models for her son. “His role modelling was first of all within the family.” Artistes have said they are just entertainers and should not be considered as agents of socialization and role models.  Recording artiste Konshens, in an interview conducted by the Loop group, “mi shy weh from it because is a whole heap a responsibility fi tek on a role like dat or fi she dat dis is yuh title, icon or role model.” Really, is it the artiste who decides if he is a role model, or is it his fans who make that decision? According to Ding Dong, another recording artiste, “yuh cannot view yuhself as a icon or role model. It is supn weh yuh get it from di love a di people or yuh circle if somebody look up to yuh its based on what yuh doing.” It is likely that despite who the artiste thinks he is, the audience’s perception of him decides how he is seen and perhaps how his music is used. The artiste does not have direct control over this, but does it mean the potency of his influence is lessened?

If it is to be agreed upon that the music and an artiste does not have an impact on societies’ beliefs and actions, it might also be agreeing that gospel songs cannot set the tone for worship, love songs have no romantic effect and that Dexta Daps’ concerts that have had women fawning over him, are not attributable to his sexually explicit music. Perhaps farther in memory is the rise in demand for the Clarks brand which many believed to have been because of Vybz Kartel’s ‘Clarks’ song.

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Defending Our Women, Girls and Children!


Kingston, Jamaica: Womanbition celebrates March, not just as International Women's Day, but a month where we are appealing to all women starting in Jamaica to come together and take a stand against crime and violence against our women and children.

Furthermore, this appeal comes in the wake of the murder of 20-year-old Accounting Clerk Khanice Jackson, missing 13-year-old Camperdown High School student Lameka Lamount since March 26, 2021, and visually impaired student Jasmine Dean who is still missing.

"Enough is enough; if our men can't protect us, if our government can't protect us, we MUST protect ourselves by whatever means necessary. We are the mothers, the caregivers, the sisters, the wives, the women who feel the pain from giving birth to burying in the dirt!"

These sentiments were uttered by an outraged mother who herself had been a victim of abuse. It is alarming to see that as women are being celebrated, they are also being killed. With this years' Women's Day theme "Choose To Challenge", Womanbition have chosen to challenge crime and violence, rape and any other form of abuse directed at women and children. We dare to do so through organized activism, awareness and standing up for justice.

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Montego Bay, St James (February 8, 2021). Woman shot in church while worshipping. 87 year old grandmother shot dead in Kingston. A little four year old shot to death in Trelawny due to a family dispute. All these fell crimes committed in a little country with a population of just about 3 million people. Lives lost daily due to the horrific disease of crime. Crime has a devastating impact on the families that are directly impacted, but by extension on the country as a whole. Crime impacts the country’s tourism product and leaves tourists frightened and scared to visit Jamaica. 

In an article in 2018, tourists from the United States of America were warned not to visit Jamaica, because of how dangerous it was and if they came, they were encouraged to stay within the confines of their hotels. 

This cripples the industry as many industries that are linked to tourists coming and exploring Jamaica will be directly impacted and impeded. Tourists who are adventurous and like to walk on the streets and interact with citizens who sell craft items or fruits will be scared to complete these activities as they believe they might be robbed or may be preyed upon. This causes the local citizens to lose funds as tourists stay within the walls of the hotels and make purchases through gift shops which shortens the value chain and reduces the income local artisans earn.

Other tourist attractions are also impacted as instead of utilizing outside tours, they utilize the activities that are established by the hotel. The original marketing tag line from My Jamaica Travel  had a warm appeal to lure visitors - “ Feel it, Taste It and Explore Jamaica.” There has been a paradigm shift in how visitors will experience our Paradise and it falls woefully short of the open invitation above.

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