Columns

Return to tragedy

Barbara
Gloudon

Friday, December 07, 2018

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Don't let us fool ourselves, no matter how hard our members of the police force work until they drop these days it is going to take more than just their effort to get crime under control.

Over the years, we have to admit that “we, the people”, need to include ourselves in the crime solution argument.

Shouldn't we try harder to be our neighbour's keeper? We need an honest discussion on how we wish to take charge of our safety and security.

The recent news of returning residents being preyed upon by the wicked around us has stirred up arguments as to what it will take to pull our heads from under the dirty waters of crime and murder. The stories are overwhelming to hear. This must have been the cause of the words of frustration coming from Percival LaTouche, the president of the Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents.

An online Jamaican news outlet has reported LaTouche issuing a warning to those thinking of coming back home: “It makes no sense you spend 20, 30, or 40 years overseas working hard only to return home for people to kill you.”

LaTouche has headed the returning residents association since the 1990s and, for many years, he has tried to help those people who have come home from abroad, hoping to settle peacefully in their homeland.

Many of the 'come-home' Jamaicans had resided in countries such as Britain, USA and Canada, where they worked in the cold climates, dreaming of the days when they would be back in their “island in the sun”. They worked hard and saved their money to resettle in homes in which they would be comfortable. Far too many of them found that the return was no fairy tale. They have been attacked and robbed of their belongings and their lives. They have been preyed upon by the wicked and the heartless who have no love for their fellow Jamaicans.

Question of the day: Would you want to be in the place of the come-home Jamaicans, many of whom live in fear, looking over their shoulders at every shadow after dark?

This week the news reported, almost back-to-back, about the cases of two women who were found dead in shallow graves. Forty-four-year-old Karen Cleary-Brown had come home from England and settled in the parish of St Mary. She had come home after some 20 years living abroad and had been building her dream home. The dream ended when early this week she was found dead. Another report was of an American senior citizen, Nancy Hardy, who had settled in Negril, at the other end of the island. Unhappily, she too was found dead, days after being reported missing.

LaTouche spoke of the situation with his “heart full”. He said he has attended over 160 funerals for returning residents, many of them the victims of violent crime, who found no rest in their homes. He has spoken out strongly against the police as he believes they are not doing enough to deal with the threats against returning residents.

The Government of the day has taken steps to implement a task force aimed at addressing the safety and security concerns. In July of this year, it was reported that the task force will include members from the returning residents associations, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and the Diaspora Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Government has declared that it wants a better life for our people. We cannot throw away our people who have made marks of development not only at home, but abroad as well. Let's not lose it.

Fairy tale or bad joke

The continuing saga of that certain institution that has high-spending ways continues to confound and astound. Calls are being made for those responsible for the wrongdoing to get a lovely pair of State-issued bracelets. Mek wi see what a go happen nuh.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@gmail.com.

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