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We Shall Overcome

To thy house o Lord with rejoicing we come for we know that we are thine. Jamaica is reputed to be the country that have the most churches per square km in the world! It is therefore difficult to comprehend the high level of violence that pervades the society and indeed the extent to which the protection of criminal gangs in some communities have become a way of life. It is now the expectation of many that the security forces will build on the gains of the Tivoli Gardens invasion initiative and move against all gangs in all communities.

There is hope. It would appear that after many years of stalling and pussyfooting around, the political will now exists. You may argue as to whether it is forced on the Government to save its own skin or whether it is derived from a genuine desire for change.  The security forces has expressed their resolve and the Parliament is now debating an Anti-crime Bill.

Yet there is fear. Even as the criminal gangs are being dismantled there is also the unraveling of social fabric that holds the gang related communities together. The school fees, the doctor bills, the fund for the disabled and unemployed, the jungle justice system and the orderly collection of extortion money and other fees imposed by the gangsters.

The state with the help of the private sector and the rest of civil society must meet these challenges if Jamaica is to get to the point where its citizens can sing the old negro-spiritual ala Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Free at last Free at last. Thank God we are free at last!

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