Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Letter of the Day | Why aren’t we confronting our own ills?

Published:Friday | June 5, 2020 | 12:18 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

HORRIFIC EVENTS in Jamaica and in the United States have arguably brought into focus the hypocritical stance of some of us that we take towards the perpetuation of injustice and the lack of any action towards making our beloved country a better place.

Reference can be made first to the brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. In reaction to this, many Jamaicans have taken it on as a cause célèbre. It has generated much excitement and following on various social media platforms ‘Black out Tuesday’ or ‘Black Lives Matter’. This has also highlighted the ‘waggonist’ mentality of many of us. Interestingly, in response to one of these postings on social media, when I sought to make the point that there was no black side, white side or brown side, but only the right side, and that we should first seek to deal with our own ills and seek justice for Susan Bogle, I was met with the most startling question by one of my fellow Jamaicans who had posted something in support of justice for George Floyd. The question was, “Who is Susan Bogle and what’s her story?”

In yet another instance of the reported death of 81-year-old Noel Chambers, who died in custody after an over 40-year wait for trial, individuals and organisations are now up in arms about it.

They have not been sparing in their condemnation of this, nor have they in some instances expressed shock or surprise. Some have even sought to blame the court, and in another instance, the Correctional Services. Ironically, these very same individuals or organisations, part of whose mandate it is to guard against such abuses, have not included in their arguments any modicum of introspection about their own purposes and whether there is a causal link between failings on their part and this situation.

The incidents of Susan Bogle and Noel Chambers demonstrate in the clearest form an unwillingness to confront our own ills in society and take a proactive approach to dealing with them. For the moment, it appears to be all about platitudes. We have all failed the Susan Bogles and Noel Chambers of this country. The lyrics of Bob Marley’s song released in 1967 rings true today: “See the hypocrites, dem a galang deh”.

PETER C. CHAMPAGNIE

Attorney-at-law