Sometimes, out of pure, unadulterated evil can come some good
We dare to suggest that evolution from evil to good was manifest in south Trelawny this week.
People came together, marched, protested, and vowed to take action following the rape and murder of 15-year-old Troy High School student Miss Jamelia Cole, and the beating of two of her relatives, earlier this month.
We applaud plans announced by community leaders to build a monument to Miss Cole’s memory in her native district, Cotton Tree, and to launch a scholarship fund in her honour.
For, as president of the Trelawny Justices of the Peace and Lay Magistrates’ Association, Mr Kenneth Grant said of the teenager’s death, under no circumstances should it be allowed to become a “nine-day wonder”.
Said he: “This [memory of what was done to the young girl] must be present in the community for the rest of our lives. Every time we drive past Cotton Tree we must remember… every time every taxi man, every private citizen drive past Cotton Tree, you must remember Jamelia and what happened to her…”
Also, we applaud all those who chose not to just lie low like lost sheep in the way so many Jamaicans are responding to violent crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as injustice and corruption in high and low places.
The defeatist attitude expressed in “mi ‘fraid” and “a nuh mi business” has emboldened criminals in this country for too long.
Instead, standing together, the people of south Trelawny opted this week to speak out against evil. They urged fellow citizens to do likewise; to report and expose criminality and all wrongdoing.
Principal of Troy High School Mr Eddie Whyte told those gathered in Albert Town Square that, “Our march is a loud protest against injustice, inhumanity, cruelty, mayhem, and wanton barbarity plaguing Jamaica. We are here… to encourage all of us to say no to the status quo, who see no evil, hear no evil, and will report no evil. We see what is happening in our communities, we see the mess our beautiful and peaceful parish is in, but we must cultivate a vision for what is possible for southern Trelawny, instead of being content with things as they are. We must learn to see, to hear, to feel, and to speak out, to say what we know…”
Community leaders like Messrs Whyte and Grant should do even more. Having begun the process through this week’s social action, they should mobilise community groups, including neighbourhood watches, with the help of the police and other State agencies.
That way, people will be more confident telling the police what they know, aware that their neighbours have their backs. For, there is always strength in numbers and in unified action.
No greater service can be done to Miss Jamelia Cole’s memory than community action to minimise the chances of atrocities such as that which claimed her life.
Crucially, the Government led by Mr Andrew Holness, all political representatives, and other leaders at every level should stop pussyfooting around and get to comprehensive mobilising of communities to help themselves.
This is not just in relation to fighting crime, but in furtherance of people’s well-being in every respect, including health, education, and economic independence.