Will Andrew Holness End The Demeaning, Entrenched Garrisons In Modern Day, Independent Jamaica?

A young, 22 year old Jamaican male, former graduate of Kingston College and now in his senior year of college was convinced ‘don man ship’ was essential for stability in the Jamaican society.

Section of a volatile community in Kingston – Screenshot via Youtube

Don man ship he declared, fifteen years ago, was a natural, necessary part of the community DNA, crucial for good discipline, economic growth and security. Untrusted law enforcement personnel, especially corrupt police have made this approach prudent based on the unexplained rising number of murders, elimination of witnesses and sloppy investigation of crimes. Other reasons proffered to defend his position included the very high level of poverty among inner city families, lack of basic amenities, and perpetuation of poor education with little chance of escaping out of poverty.

Rich business people know dem secure when the dons make the weekly collection and declare their establishments safe. “This service is cheaper than security firm payments, and more likely to consistently deliver,” the young man insisted. The spoils from this Robin Hood approach supported the locals. ‘A food was now pon de table’.

No Jamaican politician, inspired by good governance or dedication to the illiterate poor has made a crusade of consistently campaigning against the oppressive garrison phenomenon. The converse seems true; educated, wealthy politicians swoon at the opportunity, knocking each other over, to represent these lock in, easy to win communities. These political representatives, some insist, are likely very relieved they do not have to deliver any real service to remain life time representatives of these underprivileged, impoverished and vision-less voters. Servitude! Or is this callous, empty and selfish behavior devoid of true leadership?


Mother’s hurt, while they silently moan, as like them their daughters become the romance-less, loveless, very cheap sex supply chain (usually against their will) to beastly, dirty, heartless men. All because spineless politicians who know better but are drunken by their blind thirst for power, do nothing. These politicians consign these devalued and dehumanised women to a position worse than the slaves experienced during their time on the tough, ruthless, Jamaican sugar plantations. Daughters, self esteem destroyed, become hopeless; blindly jumping in bed, from one baby father to another, hoping against hope to see the elusive light of freedom. Now 5, 6, 10, yes countless babies and baby fathers later these poor, now totally broken women finally recognise they are stuck. Played by the baby fathers, the dons, educated and rich heartless politicians and even the church! And then the cycle repeats itself. Meanwhile the boys are fodder for gangs and gunmen. So the death toll rises and rises. Yet we wonder why!

Inebriated politicians wring their hands and laughably, boisterously shout at each other. All this while being handsomely paid to conduct the people’s business in air conditioned comfort, oblivious to the people’s daily grind ‘just to mek a money’. And the dons ruthlessly, brazenly, aggressively expand their misguided empires.

No society can survive when women are forced to be totally dependent and subservient. Their ambitions stymied, optimism extinguished, educational options limited, and refined, positive role models limited. And are forced to consider transactional or forced sex as their only conduit to ascent out of poverty and hopelessness.

Consider the level of decay that has engulfed sections of Kingston. Many areas previously easily traversed by pedestrians and motorists are now littered with roadblocks; and places where rank indiscipline abound. The accepted norm is disorder, chaos and gangsterism. And the authorities seem blinded, or totally complicit with this decadence and wanton decline.

The don culture supporting young man, disillusioned by the lack of discipline in the society, limited employment options, decay of family life, sterility of church membership to positively change lives and behaviour, and the escalating, ever more pervasive crimes and murders, has left Jamaica for greener pastures. Now he champions the importance of a sole policing unit in maintaining order and the rule of law. He is in awe of the effect of, and a firm believer in what a well resourced, adequately trained, disciplined, independent police force that is allowed to operate in the absence of corrupt political influence can accomplish. People gladly obey the laws, mostly. Road traffic laws are enforced. A general understanding of honesty in conduct, and equal application of the law pervades. People feel safe. Even when no one appears to be watching, and no police are in sight. Closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) are everywhere). Attainment of life uplifting dreams are not corralled by goons, dons and schooled but illiterate, indisciplined, dishonest politicians or policemen.

Peter Philips instead of seriously contemplating abandoning the Vale Royal talks should ‘up the ante’ and insist de-garrisonization talks take preeminence. A time set for conclusion of discussions, and accelerated certain date, for remediation of this serious, glaring stain on the Jamaican society and body politic must be established. Andrew Holness should welcome this approach. Unless his previous pronouncements on the subject were just genuine lip service feigning real apolitical leadership and a true desire for a vibrant new direction. Church leaders must make this the rallying cry for true justice. Business leaders need to stop calling for meetings about ending corruption and galvanize society to end this low hanging fruit of grave injustice.

It is time the average Jamaican accepts inaction contributes to perpetuation of the ills plaguing the society. And demand current leaders, and the desperate aspirants, accept this new mandate. Good governance is essential, required and expected. As top priority all politicians must acknowledge that rampant indiscipline is choking off any possible, persistent, positive attainments. Each party must require this new code of conduct and philosophy as a prerequisite for any level of political leadership.


Once political leaders remove the scales from their eyes, and their head from in the sand, they will quickly recognize the cry of the Jamaican people for justice. An environment filled with hopefulness and primed for success? And a full commitment and the total willingness of each Jamaican to do their part in accomplishing true transformation of the country.

As a nation, we are together moving forward ever, backward never, to true long lasting prosperity for all. Jamaica will rise!

By Guest author: Leon Wright.

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