Jamaicans For Justice – A True Patriotic Organisation Despite Its Images

In an interview with Dianne  Jackson Miller of All Angles TVJ Kay Osbourne, Executive Director of Jamaicans For Justice acknowledged and  recognized that two images of her organization pronounced in the Jamaican space are anti-police and hegemony by white and brown-skinned wealthy or /and middle class Jamaicans. I must say her response was a lucid  one and brilliantly answered.

Her recognition of these  two  prominent images are certainly legitimate and profound. As one who has worked in the services organization demanding a significant relationship with all classes of persons, I must say that most policemen who I know either as friends, acquaintances or customers see and believe the JFJ is anti –police. But this is where I differ from these cops or security officers who I know.

The abuse by police of working class people, the volume of extra judicial killings are not fables or myths. I myself have from high  school days experienced police abuse. In fact coming from a Wolmer’s graduation in the late 70’s , the driver of a brand new Subaru who gave us a ride on those then lonely roads to Edgewater was nearly riddled with bullets by police who insisted the Young Salesman from T Geddes Grant was driving a stolen vehicle. It was only a miracle that saved us that night as we would have experienced death and questions would have been asked afterwards.

I myself having gone to a dance in a Portmore Community was detained and taken to No Man’s land, Bay Farm Road, an alien political turf to the one I was visiting, only because the police supporting the then potential winner of the 1980 General election  falsely accused the dance revelers as supporters of the PNP.   I also as one who is from the bosoms of the people have known of persons gunned down by the police and whose deaths were said to be as a result of a police shoot out. Of course I could go on to state incidents, but as Jamaicans say, “a nuh everything mouth mek fi say.”


Jamaicans for JusticeFor years police brutality and murders were a common strand in the culture of marginalized and working class citizens . It was therefore timely that conscious Jamaicans despite their class background sought to stand up for the rights and justice of those in the society who did not have the power derived from falling in the middle class or lighter hues.

So here comes the JFJ and our history especially knowing that since the 1830’s it is not our black Jamaicans who have been at the mainstream of justice. Back track throughout our history and all Jamaicans know of the effort of George William Gordon,  Missionaries Thomas  James Philipo, Thomas Burchell,  Thomas Clarkson and in our recent history  Hugh Hart, Norman Manley, Edward Seaga, Michael Manley  fighting on behalf of the poor. The skin pigment of later days fighters should not be an issue although we really acknowledge it as a legitimately a touchy issue.

Personally, I believe the lighter Jamaicans are empowered with education and income and having these powerful tools find it easier to lead than many of us deprived by colonialisation and post colonialisation. Therefore, seeing that they are conscious that they have certain power relations, nothing is wrong to dialogue and work on behalf of the majority of us who are at the bottom of the social ladder abused by the state security machinery which devolved itself of protection and security.

It is time however for Jamaicans for Justice, in spite of the tremendous work on behalf of those suffering at the hands of the police, to correct the image of class hegemony in its leadership.

It does not matter how great your organization is, how great the work you have done, how much you have assisted your unfortunate neighbour, if bad or negative images are perceived , then it will not augur well for your history. And, one cannot blame the masses because perception is not abstract, there is always meaning made from perceptions. In other words it is  like examining what makes or defines culture.

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Winston Donald

My name is Winston Donald. I am currently completing a MA in Cultural Studies researching Street Art ( from a cultural studies perspective) I am Recruiting Officer and Enrollment Officer for University College of the Caribbean, New Kingston. I contribute to the Commonwealth Short StoryCompetition Columnist for the defunct Sunday Herald Newspaper Author on Marijuana : Export trade and Rural economics (manuscript being completed) Author on Rural Jamaican Cooking Creator of The Diaspora - Word Press blog Contributor to Sun Sentinel newspaper of South Florida Regular/Frequent contributor to the Gleaner and Observer newspaper

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