“That is one of the most fundamental issues in our society. Why are we so prone to violence?” … Jamaican Attorney Jacqueline Samuels-Brown (BBC story link)
The human rights group Jamaicans For Justice says that 20 percent of the country’s murders are committed by police officers in “extra-judicial” executions.
In other words, the police are taking matters into their own hands.
Aside from questions about the accuracy of this estimate – too high or too low – there seems to be no one arguing against the premise that there are large numbers of people being murdered every year by Jamaican police officers.
We have four quick observations…
1/ Whatever the total root causes of this phenomena, we believe that lack of rule of law in a society has to be a major contributing factor. There are areas even in Kingston city where the police will not go.
2/ Once again we point out that whatever name we put to the formal and informal associations of Caribbean countries for political, economic or tourism marketing purposes – we are not all the same culture.
3/ There is danger for Barbados in failing to maintain our autonomy on the world stage. Not to long ago Barbados joined in an effort to make “the Caribbean” a tourism brand with Barbados as a part of that brand. There are obvious problems with putting our good name beside that of Jamaica.
4/ Although we are a long way from the lawless situation in Jamaica, there are areas in the north of Barbados where groups of young men accost tourists in rental cars and “politely ask” for money to let them pass. Complaints have been lodged with the police but the situation continues – and police patrols in the area are few and far between. (A helicopter would help!) The police had better get control of this situation – and quickly.
Jamaica Gleaner – Janice Allen Case, Lawyer Says Client Being Harassed
SOS Jamaica – Janice Allen 13 years old, shot and killed at Trenchtown
Human Rights Watch – Jamaica: Investigate Police and Military Killings