Monthly Archives: November 2006

Jamaicans find reasons to kill

Jamaica has become used to having one of the highest murder rates in the world. So it takes the sort of murders we have had in the past few weeks – men killing women who wanted out of a relationship, followed by their own self murder; and the stabbing to death of an Anglican priest – to create any interest in those of us who must spend part of each and every day, praying both for our own survival and that of our nearest and dearest.

Murder-suicides have become common enough that the “explanation” for it is no longer questioned. Many Jamaican men feel they have a right to control women (and for these men it is always women – not woman) whether those women are wives, girlfriends, passing objects of lust etc. When a woman who they “control” wants to get on with her life without him, a few men respond by killing her and then killing themselves.

When this happens the particular gory details are discussed for a day or two, a thought is given to the motherless children, and the general consensus is that this is just the way of the world. It is fate, albeit a peculiarly female fate….

Then,two weeks ago, Father Richard Johnson of St. Jude’s Anglican Church was found stabbed to death in his home. There was shock and outrage and mourning, even amongst those who did not know the priest. Then the police revealed that the killer was known to them and that he had turned himself in. The killer, a man in his early 20’s known as Bomber, told the police that Father Johnson “attacked him” and he killed him in self-defence – the 45 year old priest was stabbed more than 25 times….Father Johnson was nude at the time of his death and allegedly attacked the young man whom he had “conned” into removing his trousers (to try on a new pair).

Naturally there is no suggestion that Father Johnson was armed or that his attack constituted anything more than a crude, inappropriate and overly aggressive sexual advance, of the type most Jamaican women have experienced from Jamaican men.

But once it was suggested that Father Johnson had made a sexual advance to another man, public opinion immediately turned against the murdered priest. Homophobia kicked in, and not only was the killer released immediately on bail, but he has already been tried and exonerated in the court of public opinion.

Pity us Jamaicans, male and female, who need to believe that God has given permission for at least this one type of murder (killing of men that lie with other men) and therefore this is one time we need not sorrow.

Pity the Jamaican women who are in relationships with violent men and have Dr. Orville Taylor exhorting them to stop complaining about violence against women as Jamaican men are only killing Jamaican women at one tenth of the rate that they kill other Jamaican men.

Unfortunately, it is clear to some of us that this road leads nowhere good.

Since Leviticus also says that “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”, should this be the new excuse for men that want to kill women, but don’t necessarily want to kill themselves afterwards ?

Should young women confronted with unwanted sexual advances from men twice their age start walking with guns in their handbags ? So they can kill the man if he grabs them ?

Every so often it seems that we have reached a new level of cruelty, hatred and insensitivity to life, as a people and as a society. But then we take it higher…..

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Giving away free to a good home: Jamaican politicians of every stripe

We have just endured weeks of polls and commentary on polls. Not so much politics as usual but politics to the point of nausea…….

However, to summarise (although you can hardly have missed them) the polls done by the Stone Poll team for the Jamaica Observer and by Bill Johnson for the Jamaica Gleaner more or less agree on the following:-

  • Support for Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has declined
  • Support for Leader of the Oppostion Bruce Golding has increased
  • The majority of those polled are unhappy about the PNP accepting money from Trafigura.

Every possible interpretation has been put on these findings and every possible conclusion has been drawn. We now know that the polls prove that (1) the JLP will win the next election and (2) that the PNP will win the next election.

Thanks to all those pundits, commentators and opinion makers who have boldly committed themselves one way or another. It is you gentleman and ladies who provide solace for many of us on the day after the General Election when we are looking for someone to blame for our disappointment…..

So from the polls to the JLP Conference which ends today, November 19, 2006. The JLP Conference was on the backburner for much of the week as we all enjoyed the the slanging matches and puss and dog fights on show in the PNP.

Paul Buchanan (running for Karl Blythe’s old seat in Westmoreland) refused to respectfully move aside for Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke ( a much bigger man in every way). It must be something in the water in Central Westmoreland as the retiring M.P. Dr. Karl Blythe claimed he was in direct touch with the Lord and Mr. Buchanan, after being the caretaker for less than two months, is behaving as if the Father had left him the constituency……

Mr Buchanan’s behaviour would be less foolhardy had not Len Blake (a sitting PNP MP, no less) already been forced to give up his seat to turncoat (PNP, JLP, PNP) Norman Horne. Not to mention the cautious and modest attitude of the PNP caretakers pushed aside to accommodate Messrs. D.K. Duncan and Trevor Munroe……Then, just as Mr. Buchanan seemed to have the media’s full attention (he declared that the party could NOT discipline him – and we were waiting for the party to show that it COULD....) Minister of Tourism Aloun Assamba indicated that she was bowing to ‘people power’ and would not be running again for her St.Ann seat. Big story.

Friday night Nationwide’s Cliff Hughes reported that the PNP leadership (including former PM PJ Patterson) was locked in a meeting to discuss the party’s problems and to “iron out” differences. And where were they locked in a meeting ? At the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, just outside Montego Bay, of course. If you’re talking long and bitterly, may as well be very, very comfortable…..

The Ritz Carlton Rose Hall, Jamaica

The suicide, on Friday, of Norman DaCosta, National Workers Union deputy island supervisor, served as a sobering reminder that the PNP power struggles have not been confined to the political representatives. Mr. DaCosta was campaign manager for Danny Robert’s losing team in the race for the NWU presidency and Mr. DaCosta was not re-elected to his Vice Presidential post (new President by a huge margin:Vincent Morrison).

On Saturday, the focus returned to the JLP. It was noted that the conference was well organised and well attended. Today’s headlines announced that the Dutch government is going to investigate Netherlands-based Trafigura’s donation to the PNP, and we all waited for the Leader’s speech this afternoon.

I didn’t watch Sister P at the PNP conference, so I’m not comparing his performance with hers. All I can say after watching Bruce is that, however sincere his heart, he has no fire in his belly.

Bruce Golding, Leader of the Opposition

His presentation was thoughtful and measured. He spoke of the need for constitutional change to fix some of the system’s worst excesses (separation of powers, strengthening Parliament etc) and he spoke of ensuring that the National Housing Trust is restructured to guarantee a housing entitlement to all who contribute. He promised to root out corruption and retool the Justice system. He reminded us that he will be 60 years old in 2 weeks time and that he is looking about for a successor. He mentioned that he lacked charisma and that he is who he is….

While grateful not to be subjected to the 3 or 4 hour ranting that is usual at party conferences, there was still something missing. Perhaps, it is just his lack of charisma but I could not help thinking that here is a man who has no particular desire to be Prime Minister. He gave me the impression that it is Bruce Golding, not Eddie Seaga, who has retired to wander the UWI campus and that it is Bruce Golding, not Eddie Seaga, who has withdrawn from the political rough and tumble and is devoting his considerable intellect to the problems of the day…..

Can such a man prevail against Sister P in full flight ?

Today’s pre-conference columns about Leader Golding (to be filed under ” With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies ?”) concentrated on how his shortcomings as a leader (zippo charisma, dull, tool of the white elite etc) match up with Jamaicans’ shortcomings as an electorate (lots of ignorant women, according to Kevin o’Brien Chang)…. We are in for another week of “All pundits, all the time”….

At this point, I’m still with the uncommitted and the unconvinced. God willing, I will vote. Just hope I don’t have to be holding my nose while doing it.

Puzzle of the week

Despite our best efforts (murder, pollution, bad mind), visitors keep flocking to Jamaica. I’ve given up thinking this has anything to do with superior marketing, exchange rates, tsunamis etc (all variously posited by those-in-the-know). I suspect it has to do with the same mentality that sends millions to France (the top destination on the planet) every year, despite the much canvassed rudeness and hostility of the French to the non-French….. Visitors come to Jamaica in spite of us Jamaicans….

Xaymaca’s Christmas store at Amazon

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