We are how we live!
Jamaica’s human rights record is not one we should be proud of. We are often cited by international bodies on human rights atrocities, which include arbitrary killings and arrest, poor conditions in prisons and detention centres, corruption, violence against women, etc.
I’m appalled by the Jamaica Observer‘s recent report on the inhumane conditions existing in police lock-ups. The Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang has naturally denied the allegations, though several attorneys have come out to confirm the smell of fresh faeces, poor ventilation, overcrowding, and insanitary conditions at facilities such as Denham Town, Central, Hunt’s Bay, and Half-Way-Tree police stations.
I am surprised, perhaps shocked, that attorneys noted the nasty conditions and did not raise any alarm before the Observer published its report. These places were compared to a pigsty with an “abhorrent malodour”.
There are some things under government control that should not be complex to fix and monitor. These are critical areas which should be prioritised before we attempt frivolous projects costing billions, such as the National Identification System (NIDS). Human rights abuse reflect poorly on the Government, especially, and citizens who turn a blind eye as if they are detached from the situation.
I firmly believe we are how we live. We mirror our living conditions, which is why greater effort, as a point of urgency, must be made to improve housing, lock-ups, etc and the space in which we exist.
Jamaica has some of the most violent criminals and they are home-grown. Many find their way overseas to expand their dysfunctional behaviour. When we detain or arrest people and throw them in a pigsty, what else can we expect? They will only get worse. We cannot expect criminals or people detained to begin the process of rehabilitation in these inhumane conditions. Their minds will fester like a nasty sores and they will be conditioned by the filth in which they live.
We can and must do better.