Standing Up For Rights

Years ago I came across a famous quote while studying history at university. It was attributed to Martin Niemöller:

“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

I read, with deep sadness, an article in the Sunday Gleaner on July 11 that indicated that the present Government has yet to deal with the issue of children being held by the state in police lock-ups. This, after all the speeches and promise when the issue first came to light months ago. Are we to wait on a repeat of Armadale but only inside a lock-up this time? Do we as a people need to wait until a child is seriously injured by an adult inmate?

Naturally I expect some Jamaicans to make the excuse that “it happened under the PNP as well” but that is such a poor excuse that no one with common-sense need rebut it. We MUST deal with the issues we face TODAY and the PRESENT set of politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle need to deal with this matter with the urgency it commands. Do Jamaicans really want an international organization or media house to conduct an undercover investigation and reveal to the world how our government is trampling on the rights of people who cannot vote? Do we really want the world to lose even more confidence in our ability to uphold laws? Do we REALLY want to see a comparison to the Tivoli Gardens incursion and the lack of respect for the rule of law or human rights?

These are all easy stories to link together that would result in serious additional reputational damage for the country of Jamaica. For a nation that has been so battered and bruised by the events of the last 2 years, it is amazing that more Jamaicans do not stand up and pressure the current administration to deal with the issues that could cause further damage.

It is no wonder that Vybz Kartel can stand up and say that the politicians who ordered the state of emergency are criminals themselves and find an audience because here is a real case of politicians willfully breaking the law, again. The law may not be a shackle to some politicians but I expected better from those that are called “leaders” and especially those who declare themselves “Chief Servant”.

Can the Government find no location to temporarily retrofit to house these children? Can they find no volunteers willing to open their homes just like how foster parents welcome children? Is there really nothing that can be done? If our own “leaders” have no compassion for the future of Jamaica then hope is close to being extinguished because this is how you create more young people who hate the state.

As a concerned Jamaican, I am urging the politicians on both sides to immediately deal with this issue. Let us know what the challenges are and ask for help if you need it. We Jamaicans want a better future for the children of Jamaica, especially those inside police lock-ups illegally.

David Mullings

No comments yet
admin Posted by: admin July 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm