“On Monday, May 24, 2010, Mr. Errol Spence was at home in Tivoli Gardens along with his mother and other family members. A number of other residents (totalling seventeen persons) were inside their home when members of the security forces entered. When asked, the deceased gave his age as twenty-two (22) and his occupation as barber. His mother says that she assured the police that he was her son and that he lived at the said residence. The police requested and were shown photos of him “from baby stage”. His hands were swabbed after which he was told — “We si yu a run up and down from morning and man mus’ dead fi man live”. Mr. Spence’s sister was asked how many brothers she had and she said two, a policeman is alleged to have replied “yu a go have one lef’” The deceased was then ordered over to “the kitchen wall to sit down”. A policeman then “fired four shots in his upper body and head killing him on the spot”. When family members and neighbours cried out in shock and horror, the policeman is reported to have said – “Wey uno a mek noise in ya fa . . . stop uno noise or else a kill all a uno in ya”. The young man’s body was then “hauled away” from the house.” – Interim Report on The Tivoli Incursion
Editor’s Note : The views expressed below are not my own. Javed Jaghai returns to Veritas with his take on Jamaica’s current political realities. Read. Reflect. Comment.
Jamaican politicians may be terrible leaders, but they are masters of political strategy. They understand our culture very well. They know how to appease us, they know how to mistreat us (and get away with it), and they know that we are familiar enough with each other to privilege loyalty and character over intellect and effectiveness.
Our past and present politicians must be held responsible for the state of Jamaica today. By the time the stalwarts who have served since my birth die, their obituaries will tell of how long they served and how dedicated they were to public service but will say nothing of how poorly they governed.
Jamaica is a very small island with a correspondingly small population. The interconnected webs of social and familial ties breeds familiarity, which, I believe, violates and degrades traditional means of guaranteeing accountability. We trust our elected representatives and we continue ‘fi gi dem a bly’ even though their record of accomplishment speaks volumes to their incompetency. When they consistently perform less than satisfactorily and especially when they fuck up, we excuse their ineptitude with superficial considerations like their so-called ‘good moral character’ and ‘commitment to the community’.