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Are Jamaicans to blame for everything criminal?

07/14/06

Permalink 10:41:03 am, by flankerspa
Categories: Politics, Commentary

Are Jamaicans to blame for everything criminal?

I am writing in response to comments made by Radio Jamaica representative, Mr Bernard Burrell, on the BBC Dateline Programme dated 25 June.

Some of the areas under discussion by the panel (on which Mr Burrell was sitting) on Sunday were the proportionality of sentencing to crimes committed, the enforcement of custodial and non-custodial sentences, and possible reforms to address apparent defects of the current criminal justice system in England. Mr Burrell's take on the issue was that the problems of the criminal justice system is reflected in the way "immigrants", and in particular, "immigrants from his own country (Jamaica)" show complete disregard for the criminal laws and believe "they" can behave the same way they do in "their own countries".

I must say that I was left somewhat baffled and extremely disappointed by Mr Burrell's comments. Firstly, it was unclear why he felt such a discussion required the mentioning of “Jamaicans” or for that matter “immigrants”. It is even more upsetting to know that such remarks came from someone who is supposed to be educated and is a Jamaican citizen himself, though I imaging with the disregard he has shown to the wider implications of such unsubstantiated, unnecessary and stereotypical babble, he may also possess a British passport.

I am a Jamaican citizen living in England, who has worked really hard against all odds to get through law school and to embark on a career as a criminal defence lawyer. I have had experience in criminal law practice, and there is no empirical evidence showing any special link between immigrants and crime. In fact, the vast majority of criminal cases faced with on a daily basis involve British citizens. Maybe, that explains why the rest of the Dateline panel failed to advance on Mr Burrell’s point and instead displayed an expression that said “its better him saying it than us”.

It is difficult enough trying to evade stereotypes and discrimination against Jamaicans by the rest of the world, without having “one of our own” inventing further negativities and adding insult to injury simply to facilitate debate. As they say in Jamaica: “if u no ave nutten betta fi sey den shut u mouth”.

I must, however add that before the off-putting comment by Mr Burrell, I was proud to see a positive representation of a Jamaican, rather than the usual negative publicity that is always put forward.

Thank you

M.C Mac

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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