The debate on the death penalty is on in Parliament and the topic is on everyone’s mind and lips.The wave of murders ,rapes and abductions that has left the society reeling in pain and fear has fanned the flames of pro hanging arguments.
I personally find myself giving a lot of thought to the issue of hanging and the enforcement of the death penalty. The crisis facing the society demands very drastic measures. One ,therefore, would instinctively turn to the enforcement of the death penalty as a fitting consequence to these gruesome acts of murder.
Should this measure be adopted,however, the root cause of crime and violence will not be dealt with. The social ills that have brought the society to this unprecedented crisis need urgent intervention and it will certainly take a while for the formulation and actualisation of the programs that would alleviate the social problems facing us at this stage.
When we look at the rate of unemployment in the country we certainly do not have an immediate solution to this problem not with the economy facing such great challenges. The angry , frustrated young people will not forget their anguish and pain in the face of unemployment,hunger and poverty.Their aggressive, violent reaction to their unmet needs, their unrealised dreams will not suddenly be annilihated by the enforcement of the death penalty.As far as they are concerned the day after the enforcement of the death penalty will be just another day in hell as usual.
When I look at this reality I am forced to ask myself a few questions.
Hasn’t the noose of poverty , hunger, neglect and abuse been tied around their neck from the cradle slowly stifling their ability to learn through malnutrition,neglect and a totally redundant educational system?
Hasn’t the noose of political neglect been tied around their neck chocking their childhood and their teenage years in overcrowded, filthy environment through the lack of affordable housing for the working class citizens? Hasn’t it been stifling their wish to sleep on a clean bed and escape the inferno of the tennement yards? killing their dream of being raised in a home with structures and boundaries, rules and principles to abide by.Haven’t the politicians created the inner cities to suit their political needs and greed?
Hasn’t the noose of social prejudices kept them marginalised, unworthy of the respect of their countrymen ,stifling in them the wish to live, filling their heart with such a deep sense of hopelessness, helplessness and anger?
“Innercity people, born criminal, worthless, with no ambition ,fit fe hang” now that they are killing women and children. Hang them !hang them high! dem fe dead!!! dem kill so kill dem!!!…..Hang dem ! hang dem! hang dem for the second time for we done kill dem long time now. Hang dem again! me say hang dem again! dem fe dead two times!…
I say that the enforcement of the death penalty is a futile exercise as the root cause of crime and violence will continue to grow and mushroom as long as we do not put into place programs that will restore hope in the spirit of all jamaicans, restore the dignity and sense of worth of all and create a balance in the distribution of wealth.Let us establish programs that will take the noose from aroud the necks of our children from the cradle.We have sentenced many to death and we have already killed many as many as there are who are born in the vicious grip of poverty and helplessness. Lucky are those who have wrestled with the odds and have taken the noose off their neck and have become a Melaine Walker and a Shelly-Ann Fraser.To hang or not to hang let us pray about it only God can truly show us the way.