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Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness Lashes Out at Violent Jamaican

(Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, Jamaica)

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness was among several lawmakers who used a recent sitting of parliament to register their disgust about crime and violence on the island, particularly against women and children.

Prime Minister Holness said that he was happy to see the outrage in parliament and across the nation stemming from the death of 20-year-old Khanice Jackson, but said that he believes it will not be sustained.

The Prime Minister said that if the island is to see a real shift, there are some aspects of Jamaican culture that need to be changed, like corporal punishment.

Holness, a former minister of education, says that when parents and guardians hit their children, it only teaches them to resolve conflicts with violence.

“When will we agree as a society that when we beat our children mercilessly we are teaching them that the only way to resolve conflict is through violence?” Holness said.

The Prime Minister also used the opportunity to once again lash out at some of the country’s popular music, which he says is contributing to the high levels of crime. Holness said that entertainers often glorify violence in their songs by saying they are reflecting society’s realities.

“In our music and our culture, in as much as you are free to reflect what is happening in the society, you also have a duty to place it in context,” Holness said.

“Dat yuh tek up the AK-47 and tun it inna a man head … That is not right. And though you have the protection of the constitution to sing about it, you also have a duty to the children who are listening to you.”

This is not the first time that Prime Minister Holness is lashing out at some of the music produced in Jamaica. In January, Holness also made similar comments and received massive backlash from residents.

“In the last few decades, our music has been overtaken by violence…By [the music) we are producing we are devaluing our culture which is a very important asset for our economic development,” Holness had said during an investments conference on January 26.

During March 30th’s sitting of parliament, Holness said that he is once again prepared for the backlash that he will receive from his statement.

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