Jamaica claims to stand in solidarity with other nations in its commitment to respect and preserve human rights of all its citizens. However, I am perturbed by the fact that the fundamental human rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens are continuously hindered and violated, while the constitutional human rights of criminals and corrupt politicians are protected. In light of the current Dudus-Manatt commission of enquiry, Dorothy Lightbourne and the Government of Jamaica are strongly of the view that the terms of the US extradition request of Christopher Coke, an alleged drug and gun trafficker, breached his constitutional rights, particularly freedom of expression, privacy and freedom of conscience.
Interestingly, this is the first time in the history of Jamaica that the Government has openly defended the constitutional rights of an alleged crime lord.
On the other hand, the constant breaching of the constitutional rights of people within vulnerable communities in Jamaica is never of such great concern or priority to the Government and Jamaican society, at large. What about the rights of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS discrimination? What about the said rights of gays and lesbians living in Jamaica? What about the rights of people living with disabilities?
It is clear that the constitutional rights and freedom of accused gang lords and criminals are of top priority to the Government of Jamaica, and also to ensure that they are protected by all means. Shame! Shame!
Therefore, Jamaica's faith in fundamental rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women is nonsensical and erroneous when a group of people or an individual is subjected to brutality and discrimination.
It is time for the Government of Jamaica to protect and preserve the human rights of ALL Jamaicans in the same way it protects the constitutional rights of reputed crime lords and criminal elements. Human rights are rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.
Our students are dying! The alarming surge of violence among students in Jamaica since the start of the year needs urgent attention. One too many students are being stabbed and beaten daily in and out of schools. I am deeply saddened and perturbed by the malicious and murderous trend of criminal activities affecting our children in Jamaica.
On January 26, 16-year-old Alton Clarke, a student, was stabbed to death at the entrance to the Vere Technical High School in Clarendon. In addition, a group of schoolboys got into a fight which ended in two being stabbed. Prior to these incidents, another student was badly chopped with a machete by another student in Portmore, St Catherine, a few days after the resumption of classes. Criminal behaviour by students is intolerable.
Schools losing sight of core function
It is presumed that the majority of schools across Jamaica epitomise juvenile centres and have lost sight of their core function - educating our children. At the same time, are teachers and parents guilty of recycling criminal elements within our society by silently addressing the issue of crime and violence in schools and homes? If so, this is a clear indication of failure on the behalf of guardians, teachers and other leaders in our country.
For too long, inner-city youth have been faced with the pressure of fighting gang wars and, at the same time, attending school. Our boys and girls are harmed with guns, knives and other deadly weapons. Teachers and parents alone cannot stop violence among students in schools. Therefore, every Jamaican needs to play a role in stemming this monstrous behaviour.
Furthermore, if our students are dying, Jamaica's future generation will be non-existent. Is this the Jamaica we all want to live in, where our children are attacking and killing each other? Let us rise up and protect Jamaica's future.