Editorial

The season is as much about caring as it is sacrifice

Monday, December 25, 2017

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Celebration of the miraculous gift of Jesus Christ remains for many Jamaicans as the first and foremost element of Christmas.

But even for those who are not Christians, Christmas, by dint of culture and tradition, provides the script and opportunity for peaceful, joyful co-existence, goodwill to all and generosity of the spirit, as well as the material — all of which, together, can provide a sense of hope for even those in the most desperate of circumstances.

Harsh economic times mean that there are many Jamaicans — not least children — who will have to rely on the kindness of neighbours and friends if they are to smile this Christmas.

We think it important that those who find themselves able to give and share, even in very small ways, understand that extending a helping hand can change lives forever.

A child headed for delinquency and worse can be saved just because of an act of love and caring from a relative, a neighbour… even a stranger.

At another, yet related level, a touching story in yesterday's Sunday Observer tells of children now in pain because their fathers are in jail. It reminds us that the victims of Jamaica's monstrous crime scourge are many and include those closest to the actual perpetrators. It's sad but true that some of those children are doomed to follow the footsteps of their elders. And yet, for some, the vicious circle can be broken with the intervention of a kind deed.

This Christmas, crime is very much to the front of the mind of many Jamaicans, not just because of the horrific rate of murders and other atrocities, but by the withdrawal of service, through sick-out, by some police personnel.

Ordinary Jamaicans, especially those in the most vulnerable communities, will be especially fearful because of reduced police numbers on the streets.

Like teachers, nurses, civil servants, et al, the police are angry and frustrated at low wages, poor working conditions and the promise of little to gain going forward, given the low wage increase and other benefits on offer from the Government.

Yet even as they vent their frustration and anger, the police and other public servants know that the Government's hands are largely tied due to the stringent economic realities allied to the conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund agreement.

This newspaper recognises too that lawmen and women, acutely conscious of their oath to serve and protect, are in emotional anguish having withdrawn their service.

We suggest to the police, as well as other public sector bodies who may also be contemplating withdrawal of service as the new year approaches, to reconsider in the interest of their country.

A breakdown in order and public sector service and administrative systems will do no good, only harm.

They will have honoured the true spirit of Christmas in line with the ultimate sacrifice of Christ if the Government and all the relevant public sector bodies sit to work out the best possible deal without resorting to desperate, self-defeating measures.

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