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Who is (the) Enemy of The State?

If you live in Jamaica or have been here during the last week and have not heard the term, "Enemy of the State", in your head like a stuck record, then you perhaps were safely tucked away under a rock or something.

Recently, Prime Minister, Portia Simpson- Miller, chided Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, for what she claims were reckless comments that could turn away investors from Jamaica. Though she acknowledged that as leader of the opposition, he has a "right to oppose" (whatever she meant by that), she asserts that he should not be speaking of Jamaica in a negative light. For her, that is tantamount to being an enemy of the state(??)

Now an enemy of the state is someone who is said to have committed crimes against the state, such as treason (murder of or plot to murder a nation's sovereign or acting as a traitor against your country) or one who has put the state in grave danger. Yes. That is a very serious charge. One that must not be levied against anyone without careful thought of the accusation being made and the ramifications of same. One that one can, apparently, be easily accused of if one offers criticisms of Mrs Simpson-Miller or the administration she leads. The nation seems polarized on the nomenclature applied to Mr. Holness. Some feel that it was appropriately and rightly applied, while others feel that was a most reckless and unfortunate statement from the prime minister. But no matter how any of us feels, we do know how Mrs. Simpson-Miller feels - SHE WONT APOLOGIZE.

At the centre of the, now,national fracas are Andrew Holness' remarks at the PSOJ Chairman's Breakfast Forum. I heard a very mature, balanced and insightful Andrew. Perhaps the best he has ever sounded. Perhaps because he spoke from his heart (he was unscripted). There were moments when he was critical about the type of governance that obtains; times when he was cynical, like most of us, about our country's socio-economic present and future; times when he was calling for a collective social responsibility and times when he called for a harmonious working together for a better Jamaica. The actions of an enemy of the State? You judge.


Andrew Holness at PSOJ Chairman's Breakfast Forum


One would have thought that sections of the media would have been interested in analyzing the full presentation, made by Mister Holness. But perhaps, fanning the flames of 'cyaas-cyaas' and polarizing the populace are of greater priority. Perhaps we do not perceive that such may cause political and social instability, posing a threat to our nation and its citizenry. Who is the enemy of the state?

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Shariefa Saddler, a student of the Haile Selassie High School in West Central St Andrew, is abducted and brutally murdered; her body dumped at the roadside. And, four-year-old Rushane Burford, who was shot in the head (allegedly) by a neighbour who was in melee with his parents over a pipe manhole. But these are only two of the many stories of murder and mayhem against our children, in particular and our citizenry, in general. These crimes are perpetuated by persons who called themselves, "bad men" and facilitated by a complicit society who sit by and keep its mouth shut. Reports are that Shariefa was heard calling for help while her abductors made their escape with her. Nobody came to her rescue. Nobody has come forward with a description. All mouths are zipped shut. We have so entrenched a culture of "Informer must dead." Pastors are teaching their members to remain silent because according to Proverbs 13:3; 21:23, "He that keeps his tongue, keeps his life." MASCULINITY IS CONSTRUCTED AROUND IT (MAN NUH FI INFORM, A GYAL LOVE CHAT); WE'VE CREATED SHAME FOR WOMEN TO TALK (FAAS GYAL YOU TOO NUFF). TELLING IS SHAMEFUL IS DEEP IN OUR NATIONAL PSYCHE. JUSTICE DEMANDS IT, YET WE ARE SILENT, WHILE OUR NATION GOES TO RUIN. Who is the enemy of the state?

So, let us continue to join in the melee between Portia and Andrew. Let Portia not apologize. Let us jump on political bandwagons. But at the end of the day let us ask ourselves: Am I acting in ways that betray the hope and future for our country/men? Does my inaction/complicity put my nation under grave danger? If your honest answer to any of those questions is "YES", then you have just located an enemy of the state.

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