Editorial

Father and two sons graduate together; father and two sons killed together — only in Jamaica!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

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On Monday, November 13, this newspaper reported that a 55-year-old father and his two sons were shot dead in Ebony Park, Clarendon, on Sunday night.

As rare as that occasion was, the Sunday edition of the newspaper reported an even more unlikely occurrence — the graduation of a 53-year-old father and his two sons together from The University of the West Indies (UWI) two weekends ago.

For those who might have missed it, police reports said gunmen went to a shop in a section of the Ebony Park community, called Board Villa, where they robbed patrons of money and other possessions.

The heartless gunmen then left the shop and proceeded to a house in the same yard, where they held at gunpoint, robbed and then fatally shot Clifton Scott and his sons, 37-year-old Clifton Scott Jr and 20-year-old Orville Scott.

In the other event, a singularly spectacular achievement, Harven Burke, a regional field officer at the Jamaica Observer, received his Master of Business Administration; his son Kemoi, 28, was right behind him in getting his MBA, while a younger son, Kamol, 23, graduated barely an hour before, with Bachelor of Science in Operational Management.

These two life-changing events say volumes about the schizophrenic and bipolar nature of this little country. And, while we have not seen this before, it just seems typical of the two-sides of the coin that mark our daily existence in Jamaica.

We can produce the fastest men and women in the world; the best coffee, ginger, pimento and bauxite; super brands like Reggae superstar Bob Marley and Sandals Resorts, among other world beaters, while claiming the dubious distinction of being among the world's most murderous nations.

The contrasts go much further. Not surprisingly, the Burkes would have earn their degrees through hard work, application, sacrifice, and vaulting ambition, bolstered by the ardent backing of wife, Dr Olivene Burke of The UWI's Mona School of Business and Management.

On the other had, it took mere minutes for those hapless gunmen — who probably did not spend a day in school, or never worked a day in their lives — to snuff out the lives of the Scotts under circumstances that we are yet to understand.

The Jamaican character remains an enigma, a thing of deep contrasts, of dark failures and soaring successes. There rarely seems to be any middle ground between our haves and have-nots. It's eggs or young ones; it's black or white and no room for grey areas.

Still, we gain nothing of value from the cowardly monsters who acted in Ebony Park, who exist only to kill and maim and wreak destruction.

The Burkes, on the other hand, bring us magical hope, irrefutable evidence that great results can come from hard work and the reassurance that in the midst of the darkness there is light that shows the way to a greater Jamaica.

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