August 2008
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Crimes Other Than Murder In Jamaica

From the Jamaica Gleaner online:

LETTER OF THE DAY – Nuh Linga … sort it out
published: Thursday | August 28, 2008

The Editor, Sir:

I am writing this article in response to your editorial of August 26.

Following the euphoria of the greatness that the athletes achieved in Beijing, shaking the world and bringing back nationalism, pride and the true Jamaican spirit, many expressed concerns and wishes for peace for the entire country. Why can it not be like this always? Why not put an end to crime?

Of course, people will talk about the kind of crime that takes the lives of others by guns, knives or any other way that makes the heart stop beating and causes them to die. I think that this is the right and perfect moment to deeply reflect on this.

Crime has been defined as “a violation of the law; an offence against morality or public welfare; wrongdoing”. This kind of crime, which takes people’s lives, is just the tip of the iceberg. We can see it. We can feel it making our lives miserable. But what about other crimes?

Child abuse

As we have defined crime from the dictionary, what about the ones that we commit on a daily basis? We beat our children, abuse them sexually, do not allow them to have a proper education, no health care, no “I love you”, no “You can do it”. Is that not a crime?

Accepting bribes, offering bribes and dealing in corruption – are these not crimes?

The way our teachers are treated by students, parents and others – is that not a crime?

We disrespect our wives and husbands, treating them like a ‘nobody’ in front of our children and not providing psychological support when they need it. Is that not a crime?

The remuneration we pay our employees and the negligence we have with our job descriptions, is that not a crime?

Irresponsible or dishonest management of the money of the rich and poor, leaving them without their savings, is this too, not a crime?

Self-interest laws

Throwing garbage through the car windows, not stopping at traffic lights, breaking the rules and not respecting the rights of others, only doing things for your personal benefit and not for the benefit of others, is this not a crime? Creating and approving laws for self-interest, is this not a crime?

Disrespect for human rights, is that not a crime?

To win a marathon, it is necessary to take the first step. However, the last step that leads to victory is the step that everybody sees and says is “the step”. Likewise, the crime that kills people is the tip of the iceberg and everybody sees it and says “the crime”; but the iceberg, like the marathon, is built with every small step – every small one.

There is great pressure on the athletes to become the role models and ambassadors of the country – with which I would agree, but what about you and me? When we go to take on the responsibility to be a good role model, we say that we are going to be a good father, mother, neighbour, worker, manager, boss, politician, coach, player, teacher, student, driver, lawyer, etc. We are always trying to make my neighbour clean his yard, but I don’t clean mine. Let us all take responsibility to melt this iceberg by being a good example.

I know we cannot change the past, but if we all decide, we can make the future different.

I am, etc.,

RENÉ SIMOES

Kingston

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