What’s happening to our beloved country?
Veteran reggae artiste Richie Stephens says the recent flare-up of crime and violence across the island has left him feeling sad. In an interview with The Gleaner, Stephens reminisced on the days when Jamaicans would look out for each other and handle disagreements with less aggression. He says that although crime and violence has always been a part of the nation’s fabric, it has risen to unimaginable levels and has left many with a sense of hopelessness.
“People are just so much more aggressive these days. Is like you and another person can’t have a disagreement and it nuh lead to some big thing any more. Is like everybody a try prove something,” he said. “What’s happening to our beloved country is very very sad. As beautiful and as wonderful as this country Jamaica is, crime and violence is just one of the things that really put a damper on the people and the country itself. And things only a get worse every day. We not seeing any improvement. We not seeing any reduction in crime. I just hope and pray that God will help us all,” said Stephens.
GIFT OF LIFE
His colleague and dear friend, Little Lenny, shared similar sentiments. Saying that gone are the days when people had regard for the gift of life, the ‘90s dancehall deejay says it is considered a huge blessing today when people live past a certain age.
“The way things a gwaan yah now, if yuh live past 40, yuh count yuh blessings and dat a young, young person same way,” he said. “A beer young people inna dem teens and inna dem 20s mi see a dead from wah day. Dat sad innu. Jamaica way too nice and have way too much potential fi we a live like this. Why we cant live in love and peace?”
The pair, who are still grieving the loss of veteran singer Yvonne Sterling, who died on January 18 after suffering a stroke weeks before, said that with crime getting so out of control, one has to cherish each day with one’s loved ones as if it was the last. They are encouraging warring factions to ease up on the senseless killings. The murders, they say, are only driving more fear into people who have already lost hope in many ways.
According to statistics released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, 74 murders were recorded in Jamaica between the period January 1-18. That figure is 13 murders higher than the one recorded during a similar period last year. Twenty-five people were killed and several injured in separate attacks in the western parish of St James and south-eastern parishes of Kingston and St Andrew. Triple murders were recorded in Allman Town, Kingston, as well as Norwood and Salt Spring in St James.