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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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Bruk Pocket Jamaican

"Recently, this Jamaican won the 10 million special lottery for a dollar. As soon as the office of the Lottery Corporation was open on the following day, he was there to collect his winnings.

Graciously, he presented his winning ticket to the clerk and in his best English uttered his request "Me cum fi collect the 10 millian dallars, si me ticket ya".

After reviewing and checking the ticket with his manager, the clerk returned and requested on how he would like his payments. The Jamaican replied "Mi wan all a de moni now". "Unfortunately, Sir" the nervous clerk responded, "The procedures are that we can only give you one million now and the balance equally over the next 20 years".

Furious and agitated, the Jamaican asked for the manager, who re-iterated "Sir, my assistant is correct, it is the regulation of the corporation that we initially pay you one million dollars now with the balance paid to you equally over the next 20 years".

Outraged, the Jamaican slammed his hand on the desk and shouted in anger, "Oonu tek me fi idiat, me wan all a de moni now or oonu gi me bak me rass dallar!!"

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