Commentary: Obama's One Love stop to Jamaica, who will be dancing after he leaves?

By. D.R. Miller

Touch Down: US President Obama will make a quick mic-check stop in Jamaica on his way to the 2015 Summit of the Americas in Panama. This visit will be welcomed on the island and in the region in general. Since Ronald Reagan in 1982, he will be the second sitting US president to visit Jamaica.

Photo: President Obama leaving the island Jamaica 2015

In Reagan’s case, some argued that his visit was about gaining strategic cooperation from former Prime Minister Michael Manley, who enjoyed a close relationship to then Cuban president, Fidel Castro. Today, several changes have occurred. The Soviet Union has been dismantled, and relations with Cuba are being normalized.

Although Obama’s trip is believed not to be about the past, but the irony is that several of the region’s issues are still in the shadow of the past. Economically, for Jamaica and some of its neighbours, the ship is still searching for an economic anchor.

Although many of these islands have gained independence from colonial rule, many islands quietly remain dependent, with no economic upward mobility for the youth, poor leadership, poverty, crime, stagnation and a missing middle class. Today, only few enjoy comfort zones that they strategically keep up, as the region remains divided between the haves and the have-nots.

The reality: Many hope Obama’s visit will spark new hope and change where along these shores change remains an elusive word and only poverty is as constant as the ocean that surrounds these islands. From the Caribbean to the Atlantic Ocean, these islands are looking more like an America colony than the once British, French, Dutch, and Spanish ruled outposts.

A retired school teacher once said, the only thing missing, especially in Jamaica, where several local stores are stacked with imported American products, is simply to make the US currency legal tender. Maybe Obama can become the next face on a $50,000 bill, given the rate of inflation that shows no sign of easing, as currency across the region has devalued and soon one will need shopping bag to exchange it for one US dollar.

Such as Obama, the first US black president, Portia Simpson-Miler was the first woman prime minister of Jamaica. Many thought her choice would have brought hope, and more economic successes, especially for young women, who also felt liberated when she elected. However, many women’s concerns in this region remain invisible. Her rise to power has been an uphill battle, like others in the region who have been the first.

Today, there are not many positive economic numbers to show since the 2008 economic collapse.

In contrast, it was not only an historic event for Obama; it was believed to be a new paradigm shift in race relations that have been a cancer in the US. His election had the prescription for equality, social and economic justice, and even racial harmony. However, the country is still divided along race, religion belief, and ideology, haves vs. have-nots, although the US economy has rebounded.

This visit perhaps will be a boost to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, when many polls, according to the Voice magazine, say the opposition leader would win the next election. Obama’s visit will not have the same global impact and political tone as when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu visited the US Congress in early March 2015. Some thought that his US visit was a platform for his re-election.

On the other hand, Obama in Jamaica might tempt the other party to exploit the economic stagnation and the unpopularity to its advantage in the next election. While the threat of external violence, terrorism or billions in aid is a hot topic in the Israel-US relationship, Jamaica could use a few millions in aid.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller: Photo: Bryan Cummings/Jamaica

The topic of terrorism might not be high on the agenda, but perhaps he would like to know how the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bilateral trade agreements with Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Venezuela are working for all in the region and if there is any more room for dumping.

The Connection: On this day, Obama’s roots, birth certificate, religion will not be in question. The Jamaican motto “Out of Many One People” will ring loud. Although there is deep social stratification and a male dominated chauvinist attitude, he will be welcome as a son of the soil that has deep roots from the 17th century slave ships that docked along these shores.

Often throughout life, some continue to be defined by colour and not the accomplishments or intellect. As much as Obama would have liked to bail out the local sluggish economy as he did with General Motors, a financial package would be stalled in today’s divided US Congress.

Although the term minority is seldom used in the region, the irony is it gives a false sense of equilibrium in the melting pot. For many, the region is like a field planted with 100 corn plants and, out of those 100 plants, you have yellow, white, brown, and multi-colour kernels.

They all dependent on the same water, soil and nutrients to survive. Looking on it seems they are all corn along these hills, valleys and coastlines. However, George Orwell, in his1945 Animal Farm book, said, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” and that plot rings loud in the region as many other places.

Okay, this is not an opinion paper on race: Let us get back to Obama’s historic trip.

The Whispers: Jamaica will add one more boisterous smile from this trip. However, one cannot ignore that the region has become a dangerous place. According to a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Honduras, which records 103.9 murders per 100,000 people, is ranked number one on the list as the highest murder rate in the world. Jamaica is number three, with 45.1 murders per 100,000. Venezuela is second on the list, with 57.6 murders per 100,000 people. Other places such as The Bahamas, where crime is often low, should be concerned with its 11th place on the list.

Public safety remains a major concern away from the white sand beaches and even retired natives who have called the US and other industrialised countries home for four or five decades are having second thoughts about returning due to safety concerns, and proper collaboration to head off violence given the abundance of weapons in the region.

While these islands continue to compete as if they are at the Olympics, with distrust and dislike, they are all connected. While some will have a toast with Obama, quietly, economically they have been on pain killers and have not lived up to their full potential in moving people forward

This trip will not create any significant comprehensive financial package to head off stagnation, or subsidise health care, create new financial regulations, prison reform, increase the 63-member House of Representatives, cut the bureaucratic red tape that is often reported and recognized as a major hindrance to conducting business.

However, I hope he asks the local government make sure enforcement to prevent corruption through the Corruption Prevention Act.
Here is what he should propose and highlight:

The need for legislations to promote equality in the gay and lesbian community that has seen detrimental treatment for many years, more attention to victims, and their families of sexual violence such as Ingrid Brown wrote about in the Jamaica Observer in 2012. She reported a major issue that is not unique to Jamaica alone where children were being raped and infected with STDs, as Dr Knight from the Bustamante Children’s Hospital noted. Sadly, many victims will remain silent.

Furthermore, the president should ask for a new consumer protection agency like the one he created in US to cut the exploitation of many who became victims of quick loans.

What if the president lands on your island, what would be your socio-economic, criminal, and social justice data show? Many in these areas would have reached the US shores if it were not for the ocean.

Sorry to Say: After Air Force One takes off over the blue waters, the unemployment rate will not change, education costs are still rising, crime remains high. Many still have significant problems gaining employment for being labeled a former prisoner, poverty and a criminal justice that seems to help only who can afford it for the right price and where distrust in government roars like the ocean brushing along shores are just a few issues that will still be on the table.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson has tried and, despite her history in the Jamaican government, she too struggles for equality. Even her minimal achievements will continue to be rushed up against the shores.

What next?
One hopes the US or other presidents to these shores bring economic prosperity, making it a frequent vacation spot. Perhaps the next one could be simply to see a grandparent: We’ll see you again, thank you for stopping by.

The rabbi is gay, what’s next your shores?

BY R.D.MILLER

The Location

Gay: Recently, GilSteinlauf, a senior rabbi of Adas Israel in Washington, DC, one of the largest conservative movement-affiliated synagogues came out as gay.

Soon after Apple, CEO, Tim Cook, announced he was gay. One blogger wrote, “You don’t just leave your wife to”go be gay any more than you would resign her to go be straight.” Another wrote, “Apple has lost its pioneering skills and sought more businesses.”

Fortunately, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf and Tim Cook both have financial anchors, bridges, a solid foundation, and retractable vessels that can weather the storms and bypass rough tides, and maybe unlike Michael Sam, an openly gay player who was cut by two National Football League (NFL) teams for being gay, but some will argue with others differently.

Does one need a prerequisite to come out as gay? I asked. The gay community stories are bigger than these two men, despite the media attention. Fortunately, for many wealthy and prominent people, publicly announcing their sexuality often increases wealth and power. However, this story is not about the rabbi or Tim Cook.

The other seldomly told stories:

Many less fortunate gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender; do not have speedboats to escape tides or community captains and pirates ready to throw them over the board.

Today, many are trapped by their location under an ancient colonial doctrine, an ongoing fight for acceptance seeking an anchor or shield from a rough tide. These are beautiful places many visit for a vacation break or check in with family members and reconnect with one’s heritage.

These luscious greenery, breathtaking sunsets, and blue water symbolize a liberated vacation for many visitors, but outside their villas and hotel rooms, victims are routinely teased, bullied, and even killed from ignorance – even by ‘straight’ perpetrators who may have their struggles with homosexual tendencies, as studies have shown.

Photo by Fabian Wiktor

Despite the beauty and the warmth of the local people where the sunshine as if it never sets, it remains a delicate dance for inclusion. For some, homophobia roars like the ocean, damaging any objects in its path without an anchor. These unchecked anti-waves have eroded several impoverished and developing regions.

Inside the LGBT community, there are several reports of an increase in murders since 2010. Youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years old were 2.41 times as likely to experience physical violence.

Many parents also experience discrimination for giving birth to gay children and are more worried today about social stigma and hostility than their future. The hostility has created safety concerns, a sense of feeling guilty and hopeless, and often result in abuse, homelessness and death. The lack of resources, and access to medical care, support also has forced expulsion from their community.

Gay 16, teenager was dead -Dwayne Jones beaten, stabbed, shot and ran over  (AP Photo/Jay, J-FLAG)
human_rights_watch: Photo

The only visual representation of a voice mail or iTunes maybe the sound from the broken sewer pipes dripping and hovering over their heads from living under decayed bridges. Being gay is not a sin or learned behavior, but bigotry, intolerance, and atrocities against them are.

“All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence regardless of their gender and sexual orientation” – an excerpt from a proclamation by President Obama on May 29, 2015, at an LGBT pride event.

Anti-Homophobia day celebration at the Fondation Serovie in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Katie Orlinsky

The Human Rights Watch has noted an increase in violence simply for being perceived as a gay person,a nd if these communities do not provide the support, and laws to protect, their future for being gay remains grim.

(One) — Rupert. Shortly after he had come out, his church memberships and choir receded. He seldom goes to the beach anymore. Few friends’ lives cut short as a barbaric treatment against them appeared now acceptable. Repeatedly denied entry to community activities, employment, and forced to move for their safety. Few burned alive, stoned, and scorned.

(Two) — Sonia dressed like a man, with brittle hair, cargo pants, and boots, although she has found comfort in maintaining the small town floral garden. While some visitors marveled at her floral garden designs, others abused her appearance and hurled rocks at her. Being gay did not limit her imagination.

I wonder if a few had taken the time to know her, perhaps one would learn that friends of own dad repeatedly raped her as a child at a local bar from men he trusted. With nowhere to turn for support, her trust in men eroded, and she became isolated. Even in her death, after she had lost her battle with breast cancer, they treated her remains as if her gayness had Ebola disease. Her ashes now resting in the garden she designed.

(Three) —Burma, exquisite, and has an excellent job. She blends in well with her peers, lives in a pleasant home, and is well educated. However, she is also terrified of coming out. Despite rumors, after they identified her holding hands with her partner on the other side of town, she constantly shrugged off the argument of why she does not have a child at her age.

An umbrella still looking for the right shades:

Despite US Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement: “I am pleased to announce the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages”, combined with new laws passed in over 20 states, polarization, intolerance, and political ideology threatens this fundamental change.

Though the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community ships and planes have ultimately reached many shores, others are still searching for that elusive lighthouse for guidance off these shores. Today’s violence along the shores is not simply because of poverty alone, but decades of unresolved social issues, where even if some offender has been a victim, they are scarce resources for treatment and accountability. Reporting crime should not put victims at more significant risk.

A blinded history

According to a study conducted by Trevor Bernard, based on data are taken from St Andrews Jamaica, marriage patterns between 1666 and 1750 taken from the parish register were analyzed.

The results showed that the average length of marriage was extremely limited and declined. It resulted in a reduction of children produced by marriage and did not sustain slavery and population growth. During that period, influxes of women slaves from and Africa arrived in the region.

It seems valid if people stayed married four centuries ago, and produced more children; it would have supported the demands for labor. Centuries later, independence has caused more social and economic struggles, as residual footprints in customs, laws, beliefs until now encounter the ghosts of the past.

Recently, the Jamaica Gleaner reported on an anti-gay march in St Thomas in response to a proposed bill that would recognize marriage as an official union between two people and not the traditional man and woman.

Some 150 years later, several Jamaicans opposed amending, the Buggery Act that was created during colonial rule around 1861.

Today, many leaders in the region remain silent on amendments or new human rights laws. The anti-gay protesters believe that homosexuals and their agenda are bad for strong and healthy families, righteousness, and justice.

What if those colonial rulers saw homosexuality as a threat to their business model and created those laws?

The economics

The gay, lesbian, and transgender community spend an estimated $830 billion according to Curve Magazine each year. Given its influence, especially along blue water and white sand, promoting more education, and other grassroots support is vital.

Some of these exclusive vacation spots globally cannot afford to avoid potential revenue, despite their position on the gay community.

The Advocate also noted that ‘with over 1.4 million LGBT business owners (and growing) the LGBT community earn its place at the table of economic opportunity with an input to the economy over $1.7 trillion, and an estimated 33,000 jobs.

Today, many people could have lived to their full potential thereby becoming famous stars, teachers, and police officers, but they were not welcome for being gay. Many left their communities to find comfort elsewhere living in the shadow.

The community strategically should not have to plan gay vacation routes based only on gay-friendly destinations in the Caribbean, Africa, or any other regions as if it is an election strategy targeting only your registered voters.

An elusive tide for change as the fight continues:

History also has shown the quest for equality does not sit comfortably with few on ideological grounds.
A recent report on YouTube by an Arizona pastor claiming that “we can have an AIDS-free world by Christmas if gays were executed.“If the god they all worship is love for all, who determines he does not love which one?

In 2010, the Cayman Islands rejected an Atlantis gay cruise. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the “decriminalization of homosexuality” in Trinidad, and Tobago is not something her administration will seek to do because “it would not be prudent for the government to go ahead in that direction”, according to the Trinidad Express.

This I believe represents a culture of homophobia woven in decades of social-political and stigma to vanish sexuality and gender identity.

An intolerance system passed down from several decades is hard to change course instantly. Subconsciously, the Anglicization of families under British colonial rule centuries ago stays active today. However, some islands have taken steps, like Bermuda, Jamaica despite it un-anchored vessel to date, few other Caribbean and African nations have introduced measures for more tolerance, but advocate needs to keep the pressure on and hold elected leaders accountable beyond political promises.

Collaboration regardless of location, race culture and economic stratus.

Despite the statistical signs for more tolerance, this issue continues being a monumental task and these regions and it cannot achieve acceptance this alone.  Only when societies become more educated and tolerant, then we can dance together and reverse a monster that was created. Pushing the legalization of marijuana, despite its potential long-term addictive effect, gay rights should take on the same effort.

Like fighting other racial issues, the gay community has to continue to fight for equality because while they dance to fun rhythms on the beach in these regions, many lyrics are strategically placed to demonize the community, like racial epithets, and codes used to polarize, create intolerance and hate.

The next time you power up your iPhone to spread hate, just recognize the new design you waited 24 hours in 10-degree weather to purchase. A gay man approved the designs.

And no! I am not gay, but should that matter to support their cause?

Changes take time and often resisted. Those communities must choose candidates who share their values

Rest in Peace • Leslie Feinberg- for fighting for equality for all.

Commentary: High on Ebola, low on chikungunya

by D.R. Miller

Since the recent outbreak of chikungunya in the Caribbean, four people with close connections who arrived back to into the US from the Caribbean region were hospitalized immediately and diagnosed with the virus. In addition, a few medical center employees communicated that they have seen an increase of patients from the region admitted to their medical facilities.

I am not a medical doctor, nor I do I play one on the television; however, based on the recent reports chikungunya has seen a significant up-tick. On the other hand, an impression is being portrayed that it is under control on these shores. What  long term-effect it has on people  is not  known at this time.

The leaders must address this issue openly and develop a solid plan before this potential storm, where soon US and other well-traveled countries by the Caribbean people will begin to put the medical drone in the region.

The drone concept is geared to destroy anything in its path when launched. However, could you blame the US if they cut travel, and begin to set a high alert and other screening of passengers from the region?

The recent death of Thomas Duncan from Ebola at age 42, who arrived in the US, has created an intensive focus on foreign travelers from many poor and developing countries.

Although many believed Thomas Duncan’s death while in US care would inevitably send a statement to others to not come, many people are now wondering what the color of medicine is after two dedicated Caucasian doctors who worked in Liberia contracted the virus and recovered.

One of the silent tones in the Caribbean addressing chikungunya, I believe, is not the politics of the virus, which is often seen elsewhere, for the region it is all economics.

Here is why: Most of the region’s economic engine is tourism, and if any indication like what has been taken place in Liberia, it could be worse than the economic collapse in 2008 that left many still sneezing

I begin to wonder if this is a reason reports of this increasing tide seem a bit hushed up to protect the tourism industry while many locals are suffering silently. Any business model during a turbulent time is not only to ready, but willing to tell about structural problems. This approach not only builds credibility, but also shows a level of leadership that is lacking today on several fronts.

This is not a call for a reduction of travel to and from the region, or high-level screening at airports — that would be premature at this point. On the other hand, when the local government is slow to educate people, this could be a tornado building. Therefore, questions must be asked. Along these blue waters there lies an undercurrent overflowing its banks at any time, and the long-term impact could cripple many lives, both medically and economically.

Managing these issues takes compassion and resources. Recently I saw a Facebook picture post of what appeared to be a sick person from the region who became more victimized as he was scorned from an appearance of what is believed to be the symptoms of the Ebola virus. Furthermore, when it is reported that few local doctors are contemplating refusing to report to work in the event of an outbreak due to the lack of medical supplies and other resources that is troubling.

In today’s society, where billions are being spent on wars and politicians re-election, it is hard to fathom that lack of resource and awareness, combined with scorn, can leave many more suffering. I hope elective officials, medical staff, and CARICOM step up its mandate to educate people and seek help through awareness, because the potential problems such as what is occurring in Liberia and other West African countries, where perception is more dangerous that an actual virus.

These islands are unique and sometimes that can be their own downfall because the uniqueness creates a form of isolation. It further limits collaboration, as all seem to be competing for piece of the visitors pie. Therefore, competition mutes concerns, while marketing becomes“them and not us mentality.”

This virus is not just an island thing, or in Third World countries as one of my less informed friends stated, he is going to stop eat chicken, and stop going to places where lots of chicken are found.

Education is key: No, you cannot get it from eating chicken, or visiting places where chicken are in abundance. The name chikungunya derives from a word in Makonde language roughly meaning that which bends up reflecting the physique of a person disabled by the disease. Many reports have noted that it was first identified in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1952

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the first known autochthonous chikungunya cases in the Western Hemisphere occurred in October 2013 on the island of Saint Martin. By March 2014, travelers to other Caribbean islands carried it to: Dominica; the British territories Anguilla and British Virgin Islands; overseas departments of France — Guadeloupe, Martinique; and the constituent countries of the Netherlands Antilles, as well as other areas such as St Kitts and Nevis; the Dominican Republic; and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

An estimated 3.6 billion persons in 124 countries are at risk worldwide, such as the many who are exposed to dengue fever. Large outbreaks have also been seen Indian Ocean islands, India and South-East Asia, according to the Infection, Genetic, and Evolution Journal. It has also reached Asia and Europe, and North America has seen a few cases recently in Florida.

The National Institute of Health, World Health Organization, Public Health Department, and Infectious Disease, noted that chikungunya is a viral disease that is rarely fatal. It is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.

The symptoms include high fever and headache with debilitating joint pains, swelling and stiffness of joints, muscular pain, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and rash that can last for several weeks. Normally within four to seven days as reported after been bitten, the symptoms appear.

The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on an infected person during the viraemic period. Today, there are no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines available. However, it also has been reported that commonly used medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, paracetamol, and aspirin.

Although there have been reported deaths, the number of related deaths are extremely low compared to Ebola; however, one should not discount it as a storm that will pass soon.

These regions have to debunk that only certain medicine can cure this outbreak, while many studies have reported there are no known cures at this time for the symptoms. It is extremely important that people take serious preventive measures such as bite-proof long sleeves and trousers. 

Purchasing  untested drugs in desperation from local street vendors might not be the best approach, especially for people with limited or no access to healthcare.  More information can be found published by many health organizations.

It can be extremely difficult to track down all mosquitoes and apply chemical spray on an entire region to cut concerns and especially in poor  and, rural areas with pool of slow-flowing water that is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the lack of access to good health care only add to the problem.

Today many travelers are still waiting on a concrete government plan on how they are handling the issue in a coördinated effort. If there is one, please post.

Although some awareness has been posted, and the governments seem now to be taking steps to mitigate the potential problem, more needs to be done. Nevertheless, can we all be stratified?

This is not to reduce  any attempts, as the lack of resources can make this a difficult task. Moreover, the chance of being robbed, shot or killed in some of these areas, is more than likely than contracting the virus.

As the region continues to attract visitors, it is also important that these visitors receive a disclaimer of this undercurrent taking place.

The leaders must make sure that all proactive measures are taken, and seek help and resources as needed, and stop putting on a good face on this issues with a relaxed attitude.

I am still optimistic that all can come together and weather the storm. Moms and I have a ticket ready to land soon to take a break from the upcoming winter.

Commentary: Celebrity and criminal justice: A test of the Jamaican criminal justice system

BY R.D. Miller

The anticipated verdict was more about the Jamaican justice system, and how they would severely handle the last disposition, including the profound effect over the Caribbean in general on celebrity justice, helpless victims, and what statement it would send to the next generation, where trust is frequently ranked low as it typically relates to the criminal justice system.

The high-profile trial was bigger than the prosecutors, defense counsel, key witnesses, local law enforcement, and how they carefully gathered and preserved evidence or the apparent lack of effective communication and proper rules.

It bought back memories of the O.J. Simpson case where he was found not guilty on a double murder charge. The criminal trial put justice in prime focus. It was a combination of how law enforcement conducted themselves, money, celebrity and class.

Although (Vybz Kartel case did not receive the same worldwide notoriety such as the O.J. Simpson case in 1995. Several in the Caribbean watched this case closely about how justice would be served.

Quietly, to many, national case brought back memories of earlier ones in which earlier politicians, the rich and powerful people in the region often walk away free, even when the evidence points more than likely that a punishable crime has occurred.

This is not to say that all rich, famous, and powerful defendants were guilty in all more prior cases. However, as many Jamaicans waited in anxious anticipation of the verdict, the alert for civil disobedience and vigilante justice was high.

However, the Jamaica judiciary system rose to the challenge and maintained order after the verdict. What was even impressive, many became educated with the jury system, and how overall the court process works for the first and the media fulfilled a critical role.

Often in regions where poor economic conditions still have a strong hold, justice is often seen through the eyes of one’s economic status, and notoriety. In fact, as much as we would like to see a balanced system, often these trial outcomes mirror several other countries based on one’s race, sex, creed, and colour.

The mandated strategies to combat crime and national safety should not create a generation of hopelessness. It should make sure that when penal codes have violated the rule of law as written in the “said constitution” continue intact.


Rule of law, public service, and personal safety are extremely important, whether in a democratic or totalitarian system of government. Promoting central control is a responsive government. This concept ensures that the right people are being selected, and the departments are staffed properly to keep up integrity, and correspondingly balance the public safety mission.

Today, a majority of us however look at the criminal justice system as “criminal justice for the appropriate price.”This is true especially when many people are being incarcerated not because of overwhelming evidence or simply probable cause is found beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is simply because they could not afford the defence needed to poke holes in government cases, and the ones who are sworn to uphold the law are being bought off from behind the bench.

The idea of celebrity justice is practically like policing and its gradual evolution that I carefully consider efficiently transferring from the boardroom into the social space. Criminal justice throughout the Caribbean region has evolved like the police force that was first developed within the context of properly maintaining a class system that protected private property in the early 18th century in Great Britain and now has become a decentralized system globally.

There is undoubtedly this verdict that will be debated for months to arrive and somewhat opens a new frontier about how this process really works. Debating the rule of law is nothing new. When other nations adopted the British common law, they also underwent a period of amendment after it had been criminally investigated in the criminal court of law.

When colonial British powers stretched throughout the Caribbean region, it not only brought slaves but a criminal justice system that set the foundation for how the government protects its people and implements justice.

Often, as official history has sufficiently shown us, only a few have benefited between haves vs. have-nots. However, this verdict, regardless of one’s position, should offer some hope.

Many on the island perhaps never understood how the judicial system works, and the moral responsibility that comes with being selected even as a juror. Now that the judgment is in, the region must begin to educate itself, from the primary schools to colleges on how the process works and expectation of a fair and balanced justice system and regardless of the defense one can afford.

The official verdict has tested the Jamaican judicial system, law enforcement rules, and what role entertainers play in the structure, and if justice can be bought. This verdict is more than just one man, and the impact will have a lasting effect.

On the other hand, if the local government does not use this opportunity to send a message, very soon key departments will no longer be capable of functioning to their fullest capacity as required to keep up public safety and a fair and balanced system.

What is sad from this verdict, despite a modernized process, it appears when a crime has been satisfactorily solved in the region, several departments stay on trial afterward, such as Vybz Kartel’s conviction.

The last analysis is that Vybz Kartel’s new jail number will not make a difference in the Jamaican stock exchange, or how many more jails will be needed or an improvement to the economic condition. On the other hand, if this criminal trend continues, soon Jamaica and more areas will have to build more prisons as one of the untold stories in the justice system and especially where more prisons are being built and privately owned.

They often need clients/customers to keep their operations going. As a result, the lives of the less fortunate among us seem to have diminished to debits and credits on a balance sheet or a ticker symbol trading in the stock markets.

The concept that entertainers were immune from the criminal justice system in Jamaica has now been proven incorrect. However, it seems the blame game continues about what went wrong, and what could have been done differently?


Inadequately training is now critical and if the body of local government that plays a vital role in unanimously upholding the law refuses to aggressively investigate critical gaps from preserving of evidence, and ensuring that officers can conduct comprehensive investigations from the emergency system to tracking criminals, to redefining agility and structural deficiencies, then the public trust will, however, continue to decline.

We typically have to be careful not to justly accuse everyone immediately if the successful outcome was not favorable to reasonable expectations. Dedicated employees might have committed some mistakes in the process, but what has taken place after the verdict is that law enforcement seems to have instantly become the focus of the debates. Going forward, the government needs to set up an independent commission to look at these issues to see if understaffing and proper training in those vital areas need to be addressed promptly.

How do we get there? The system should congregate an independent commission, which will be far from coerced-subjectivity and politics, to check any terrible lapse in compliance that has led to overall deficits across the agency that demands action.

It is important that they work together and communicate about the overall agency process and make sure continued security is adhered to and that accessibility to sensitive information is restricted to authorized users only.

Checks and balances are always needed, and although it can slow the process from hiring to implementation of human resources functions; however, urgent action is needed to discuss the dedicated staff concerns and going forward, give some level of oversight both internal and external.

I had never heard of him before this high-profile trial. However, I realize that he commands a huge following, and some might not agree with the possible outcome, also that is fine and democratic in any society. We cannot gently force anyone about who to dearly love.

On the other side, imagine the impact he could have sustained mobilizing the next generation on to better things. I am still optimistic that this time justice was in the open and not taken up in the hands of a few through retaliation.