Prospecting for gold brought out the worst
A section of the crowd that descended on Chester Castle, Hanover, in search of gold. (Photo: Anthony Lewis)

Dear Editor,

The reaction to the recently suspected and later proven-to-be mistaken gold find in the parish of Hanover has unearthed three unfortunate realities.

Firstly, there is the ravenous behaviour we often display when faced with the prospect of receiving some benefit, whether it is money, food, a place in the line, or, as in this case, discovering gold. What was demonstrated by the gathering of the people who descended on that privately owned property was indecent and disrespectful.

If it were simply mere fascination that had attracted them to the site, then it would have been acceptable. If they had opted to offer some help in sampling and verification efforts, with the land owner's permission, of course, then that would have been commendable. But their behaviour was reminiscent of the deleterious and hazardous trait that is often shown by our brothers in Nigeria when gas haulage road units experience difficulties in public: a disregard for life in an effort to scavenge fuel from such units. This has led to many Nigerians being burnt to death and maimed.

Secondly, one of the "gold diggers", in priest-like fashion, sought to bless and legitimise the activity by declaring it (the alleged gold) as "a gift from God, of which we are here to partake". There is power in such types of faith, but faith must be used wisely, humbly, mercifully, and only for the glory of God. King Solomon also spoke of better things than gold, such as a good name, wisdom, and the truth.

And finally, a popular media house's report attempted to give a brief history of gold mining in Jamaica. The report stated that the last such venture, undertaken by an Australian company, was abandoned because it experienced "financial difficulties". But it was rumoured that they had to flee because of the threats from potentially violent extortionists. The media house may have been trying to euphemise the facts for the greater good of Jamaica, but hiding the truth is only good for the wicked.

Andre O Sheppy

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