Carmen Richards Reid writes about the Jamaica she once knew and the hope for the future.
Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Commentary: Jamaica the Beautiful

“69 persons have been killed in only 29 days.”

I remember growing up in the 50s, while living in the hill of ST James, hearing about someone being killed by another person was a once in a while accordance. To have 4 times per year would leave the Island’s inhabitance talking and looking over their shoulders for a long time. I knew one of such persons whose life was taken away late one night; someone used a knife to carve her abdomen out; her killer was never appended. Even though it is four decayed ago, it seems as if I can still see her face. She used to pass by our house several times each week, every now and then, she would tarry awhile to talk with my parents. Murders in Jamaica, was very ware, now today it is a far cry from the way it was back then.

I receive the Jamaican weekly newsletters; something in the most recent one really held my attention for a long while.

“Sixty nine persons have been killed since the start of the year with only 29 days gone.”

You may question; how could such a small Island, with less than three million people have such a high murder rate? This is a place where one goes to relax and have fun in the sun; how could that be?

You know, after thinking for a while, after surveying the Island from one end to the other; in my imagination that is, I had to pinch myself. That was forty years ago; things are not what it was back then! People had more respect for one another and for their properties. In those days people would steal from you while they are behind your backs, hoping that they will not be caught but it is not so anymore. Today they will walk up to you, look you in the eye, shoot you down in cold blood, then take your possession and walk away without a sweat. No remorse, no regrets! Oh yes! Some are kind enough to tell you “if you value your life run!” Make no mistake; this is everywhere in the world that you can think of.

Whatever happened to our Island in the sun? What has happen to the whole world? This Island, and the world is still a beautiful place; it is not as beautiful as when created God it, it is its people who have gone mad. These things which are now taking place were foretold almost two thousand years ago; it is found in the Holy Scriptures. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (uncontrolled), fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy, 3: 1-5:

We do not have to look too far to see those things we just read; they are happing around us. If we take a closer look we can even see them in our own lives. Only God has the power to end this sort of madness but He will not do so without our help. If we hear His call to change from our wicked ways and serve Him, then the change will come. If we wait on our friends to give us the okay we might never take that important step.

I am in my late 50s and I can still remember when Jamaica was much more beautiful than what it is at the moment. There were springs, brooks, and natural fountains flowing out of rocks as I walked on country roads. There was also beautiful birds singing everywhere; now most of those things are gone.

These are words from a lyric I wrote about Jamaica, the Land of my birth.

You can take a boat or an airplane,
Happy faces will welcome you there.
Come anytime, have no fear. You can
Have fun just about anytime, if you are
Pleasure bound then get in line.
Come to pretty Jamaica – man!

I think of Jamaica everyday; I have to! I have relatives, friends and schoolmates, who are always swimming on the shores of my heart. Jamaica and its people are still beautiful to me; there are smiling faces everywhere you go. You will still find people on the Island with golden hearts.

God blesses Jamaica!

About the author

Carmen Richards Reid