The road to Port Royal


Sunday, October 21, 2012    

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God bless the spirit of that little girl, her body found burned in the bushes on the road to Port Royal. May her precious soul rest in peace and those who knew and loved her find, in time, some respite from the pain and anger they are certain to feel while coping with her death.

A burning, a beheading, a floating foetus, all in the space of a few days: this is life in Jamaica.

The horrendous and heinous crimes committed relentlessly in this country have become a numbing, steady diet of horror-acceptance-horror-acceptance and more horror and acceptance. There is little time to process one horror before we are faced with the next.

No disrespect meant to any politician, educator, lawmaker, businessman, industrialist, worker, entrepreneur, columnist, community leader, parent or pastor, but we are way out of our depth. Whatever talents we have to bring to our communities and attempts we have made that may be recognised as leadership, integrity or inspiration have failed

Collectively we have allowed a monster to be created, and it seeks to devour this country.

And devour this country it will, for there is clearly no way out. Those momentary distractions by the greatness of our talent and resources — our athletes, artists and musicians, the taste of our water, the sweetness of our fruits and the physical beauty of our country — are hardly enough to restrain those amongst us who get away literally and physically with murder, every day, in every way.

Why have a hangman on the payroll when we have neither the resources nor the intention to put anyone behind bars? We've had paedophiles forever. In the 1970s, Dr Basil Keane, a dentist and JLP councillor passionate about his country, moved a resolution at the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation to have convicted rapists castrated. Leave only a half-inch stump, he suggested.

No, lock them up for life, his colleagues said. He must be rolling in his grave to know that we never got around to either. He would roll in his grave, too, at the thought of evidence of political mismanagement being excused with a simple utterance: "I'm sorry. I was wrong."

When the politicians and the politically connected are able to insulate themselves from the realities of their constituencies — cordoned off from the public by security teams, waving from high perches in SUVs or from loftier perches in their first-class aeroplane seats — there is little hope for change. And I'm guilty, we all are guilty of some of that too. Sitting in the comfort of our deeply-tinted, air-conditioned vehicles which we use as armour against the street hustlers who seem to feel that our job is pay up at every corner is the first step into the bubble.

We're guilty of making nice so we can stay in good favour with friends in high places, and not muddying the waters just in case a nice contract could come our way from our political connections. But be careful, for not even from a mosquito do they keep us safe.

But unchecked dengue, corruption and mismanagement aside, the rising level of depravity we're experiencing in this country has no forseeable end. What causes a woman to discard her foetus? Or a man to decapitate a woman? What is it that burns in a man so deeply that he seeks pleasure through the rape and torture of a little girl? Is it reprisal? Is it cure for an ailment? Is it the slim chance that he'll get caught? Or is it the absence of any hope for his future?

And what will make him stop?

Nineveh, Pompeii and Sodom — together with its companion Gomorrah and two other towns — were cities destroyed by "brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" for their unrepentant sin. Port Royal was the place to which men and women of all races came and engaged in all manner of pleasure and evil, where the fearless and wretched pirate Sir Henry Morgan was elevated to Lieutenant Governor of the island, where 2,000 people died in "the richest and wickedest city in the world", when it was sunk beneath the sea by an earthquake.

There is something so symbolic about the burning of the little girl on the road to Port Royal. If you believe in God, take it as a sign. If we don't find an answer soon to the problems we're confronted with daily, then He surely will.

Take care. Be safe. Show love.





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