"The take home lesson for me is underlining the dignity of WORK. I think this bill, symbolically, lends itself to affirming that. Nobody should be nobody should be deprived of their resources by persons who choose to act malevolently. While I applaud the initiative, the effectiveness will depend on a number of things: 1. Enforcement. How prepared is leadership to take actions against those who support them, when they commit this offence? 2. Community Participation. People have to be aware that it does not benefit the greater human good to give tacit support to this immoral act by accepting from proceeds from scamming 3. How prepared are we to deal with the systemic injustices that deny opportunities to certain groups of persons, making them vulnerable to such immoral means of earning for themselves and families. This bill (a good move) MUST be supported with relevant social programmes that will pro-actively curb incidences of scamming."
When I ask,"How prepared are we to deal with the systemic injustices that deny opportunities to certain groups of persons, making them vulnerable to such immoral means of earning for themselves and families," I am alluding, in part, to the social exclusion that is caused by homophobia. That is what I wish to focus on in this post, since everyone else is focusing on the negative publicity and backlash that "Brand Jamaica" is receiving after an investigative piece into the "phenomenon" was broadcast by CBS & in the wake of a US senate hearing. We (government & advocates) are not seemingly willing to have this conversation. Hopefully this post will provoke such a conversation.
Many of the persons involved in scamming are constituents of the LGBT community, who society might deem "overtly" gay. Their inability to comfortably & safely pursue educational opportunities and find gainful employment is as a direct impact of sexual prejudice against them. They are forced to innovate for subsistence. Their other options are to remain on the streets, where many of them were banished to or to offer their bodies for lodging. Certainly, as a nation we seem not to be prepared to enter those murky waters of prejudice. Now, I am in no way excusing the despicable acts of those who scam. They should be held accountable, that is why I support legislative agenda to this end. However, what I am critiquing and interrogating are our crime prevention plans (including preventing scamming) & the systems that support social exclusion on the grounds of prejudice; making persons economically vulnerable and forced to innovate. I am arguing that when we have those systems of injustice and inequalities deviance is an expected result. There will be an increase in informal activities (even criminal) if the formal sector
Many of those (LGBTQI) persons who participate in defrauding and threatening vulnerable , senior citizens from the US are faced with not just a moral problem (where they know what is the right thing to do but don't find it easy), but a moral dilemma (where two very important moral implications are at stake). On the one hand, there is the wrongness of
Are we prepared to make such explorations? Are we really wanting to fix the problem? We can begin by addressing causes rather than treating symptoms - begin a conversation on the role of homophobia in all of this melee. Because it does play a significant enough role. We would have addressed a significant part of our problem if we so do. My granny used to say to me (Rest In Peace) that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. I tend to agree with her.