Jamaica Diaspora Enraged by Security Minister Rejection of Diaspora Expertise
Ambassador Curtis A. Ward
No one will argue with the fact that, for many years, Jamaica has struggled to curb the ever-escalating crime and violence in the society. By some measure Jamaica has been seen as the crime capital of the hemisphere. Homicide rates climb year over year. Many of the homicides are attributable to gang violence.
The US government consistently warns American travelers to stay away from certain parts of Jamaica. The current government in Jamaica seems to be at a loss as to how to curb crime and violence in the society. The government’s past reliance on a series of states of emergency has failed to curb crime and violence. The minister of national security, the Hon. Horace Chang leads Jamaica’s failed efforts to deal with crime and violence. He doesn’t seem to have a solution. The problem persists and grows worse.
At the same time, there are many Jamaicans in the diaspora who, by any standard, are highly qualified in every area of crime prevention and crime fighting. Their crime fighting expertise help keep communities, cities, and towns across the United States, and in metropolitan countries around the world safe. Their services and high levels of crime fighting expertise are recognized among their peers and in law enforcement communities everywhere. How about helping Jamaica to deal with this intractable problem?
While appearing in a townhall meeting on April 8, 2021, hosted by Her Excellency Audrey Marks, ambassador of Jamaica to the United States, Minister Chang rejected any notion of Jamaican diaspora law enforcement expertise helping Jamaica. Chang was responding to a question, which could be interpreted as an offer of diaspora expertise to help the government control crime and violence in the country.
Chang, in addition to being minister of national security, also serves as Jamaica’s deputy prime minister, and, when he spoke, his words were taken as representing the government of Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Chang has never reversed himself or clarified his position. Neither has the prime minister allayed fears within the diaspora that his government does not appreciate the contributions of the diaspora for the benefit of the country. Members of the diaspora interpret this dismissal of diaspora expertise, as evidence of the government’s lack of integrity on meaningful diaspora engagement.
An enraged diaspora community, disappointment with Chang’s dismissal of diaspora crime fighting expertise resonated across the diaspora. In response, CaribNation TV convened a discussion among diaspora leadership and expertise to discuss Chang’s rejection of diaspora expertise, and his failure to acknowledge the contributions and potential benefits to Jamaica of its diaspora. The discussion hosted by Ambassador Curtis Ward included diaspora leaders attorney Dahlia Walker-Huntington, Dr. Karen Dunkley, Irwin Clare, and attorney Wilfred Rattigan, a former FBI special agent.
You are invited to view the discussions here.
© 2021 The Ward Post/Carib
Clearly the diaspora like many Jamaicans believe some magic wand in USA or elsewhere will solve our crime problem. JAMAICA DOES NOT HAVE A CRIME PROBLEM, IT HAS A SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROBLEM. Crime is just a symptom. Need better schools and school leadership in inner city schools. Better values and attitudes taught in homes and through dancehall and media. Transform a post colonized Jamaica from “Informer fi Dead” to “if you see something ,say something” As a former member of the diaspora i fully understand your pain and we welcome your involvement but trust me “Sandals a nuh Backto” We are no lonher the Jamaica you know.
the diaspora does not believe in “magic wand” and members of the diaspora have consistently written and spoken b=about the holistic approach to curbing crime in Jamaica, including identifying the need for social transformation – access to quality affordable education, access to quality healthcare, lifting the underserved and marginalized out of poverty, access to housing, reform of the justice system to deliver equal and timely justice for all, good governance and accountability for corrupt practices, and more. A whole plethora of issues have been identified by members of the diaspora. No one believes there is “some magic wand.”