What if Jamaicans start pulling together as one?Monday, October 18, 2021
Much about the events in Bath, St Thomas, over recent days remained murky at the time of writing.
We know that a nine-year-old girl who had been kidnapped from her home on Thursday was found alive and taken to hospital on Saturday after an intense, collaborative search.
The police, the Jamaica Defence Force, other agencies, and hundreds of ordinary people took part.
No sooner was the nine-year-old, Miss Phylisa Prussia, found and hospitalised, came word that another child from Bath, 13-year-old Miss Winshay Barrett, had also gone missing.
Yet another massive search began. It was continuing up to late yesterday.
Reports say a man from neighbouring Portland, out on bail for rape and gun charges, is the suspect in both cases.
This newspaper, like all well-thinking Jamaicans, is hoping and praying that the missing child will be found safe and sound and that the other will recover well from her ordeal.
Finding and securing the suspect was obviously also a priority. We echo the appeal of Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson and others that should he fall into the hands of citizens he be handed over to the police without being harmed.
There should be no place in a modern, civilised Jamaica for jungle justice. That thought should be even more to the fore as we celebrate our national heroes, who gave so much, their lives in some cases, for the building of this nation.
In the context of National Heroes' Day and the need for all citizens to be the best they can be, not just for themselves and their families but for community and country, it seems to us that those involved in the search parties of recent days deserve commendation.
Ms Beverley Edwards, Phylisa's former teacher, got it right. Said she: “The community came out and gave their full support... This is Jamaica. This is what teamwork is all about… when we pull together. We are a powerful people and a prayerful people. When we come together as a team, and work together, we are always successful.”
It begs the question: What limits would there be for this country if our people could pull together to solve this society's many problems, the way the people of Bath, and neighbouring communities, pulled together over recent days?
Surely, the fight against COVID-19 could be significantly enhanced if influencers in all walks of life were to pull together, speak, and act as one, on the need for people to get vaccinated.
And, what of crime, which has plagued our lives for as long as most of us can remember?
Imagine the possibilities if our people could pull together — in the same way as was the case in Bath — to support the police. What if Jamaicans, over time, were to become so socialised that they automatically call the police to tell what they know about gunmen and gangsters just as they called to give information which led to Phylisa being found on Saturday?
Imagine how the social and economic realities of this country could be transformed if community and police could pull together against criminals.
Here is something Jamaicans and their leaders should contemplate today, National Heroes' Day.