Kingston, Jamaica – November 14, 2012: Dr. Lucien Jones, eminent medical doctor and lay preacher, has put forward a wide-ranging and thought provoking set of proposals to deal with critical issues currently affecting Jamaica. He included calls for a coalition government, the “correct faith”, a different approach to socializing boys and a different narrative in the music, art and general culture of the country.
Presenting the keynote address at the October 20 Annual General Meeting of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall, Dr. Jones made a dramatic comparison between the “times of tranquillity” of his youth, and the countless “horror stories” of current times. “My biggest disappointment and the country’s greatest nightmare,” he contended, “is the violence being meted out to our women and children.” This, he stressed, superseded even such challenges as “the grinding poverty and the spectre of not having an IMF agreement…the political tribalism and the reality of garrisons”.
The doctor laid a significant amount of responsibility on what he described as “the emergence of the dancehall culture, with the emphasis by some of its leading proponents on violence, and the really out of order lyrics”. Soca music, with “often very public slackness” associated with it, what is available on television and cable television “and the associated pornography”, music videos and cell phones, also came in for strong criticism from him. He named several popular dancehall stars who were complicit in this “downgrading of the music, affecting our children and spawning violence and sexual immorality.” Modern technology was also highlighted (“over a billion persons using smart phones – one in every seven”, according to material he had read recently): this could be a powerful medium for mischief, or a powerful medium for good, he warned.
Dr. Jones also deplored the breakdown in family values and family structure, the absence of fathers, and sometimes also of mothers, in creating criminals such as young Lee Boyd Malvo, convicted Jamaican multiple murderer – and noted that “every perpetrator is a victim, as these youngster fall easy prey to the dons… murderous but sugar sweet to everybody else… (they) do their bidding… press the triggers.”
Here, he credited research published by sociologist/author/commentator Dr. Herbert Gayle, and a discussion hosted by media talk show host Dionne Jackson Miller on the programme “Beyond the Headlines”, for a number of distressing details to which he referred.
How to rescue our men and to socialize our young boys and men, he said, was one of the most pressing issues about which the nation needed to concern itself. Jamaica needed to need to rescue pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who were poor, the Doctor said, adding, “We must care or the society will feel the effects and products of these homes and communities…
“Whether we accept it or not,” Dr. Jones declared, “the greatest resource available to the nation is the church… the body of Christ… divinely appointed to be the salt and light in any nation. Conversely, herein lies the greatest impediment as salt that is no longer salty is only fit to be thrown away.”
Too many church members, he argued, forgot that they were representatives of Almighty God, thus diluting the power of the church. The advent of same sex marriages in some countries, and of phenomena like Liberation Theology and “property gospel” (promoting the view that Christians ought to be rich and successful), were also contributing to the decline of the strength of the church, he felt. The answer, according to Dr. Jones, was “correct faith, embracing sacrifice and appreciating the need for and being aware of the relationship between suffering and a closer walk with God and through Jesus Christ.”
Sharing “some thought on how we can make a difference to the state of our beloved country,” he advocated strongly for a coalition government. This, he said, could counter the extreme shortage of competent and committed (leaders), as well as “breaking down the barriers which prevent us from destroying the garrisons.”
A coalition government, even as a temporary measure, Dr. Jones put forward, could be a powerful force in the fight against corruption, and in increasing the level of efficiency of governance in dealing with intractable issues like poverty and anaemic economic growth.
Dr. Jones also proposed appointing more members of civil society to the Senate and to the Executive.
In addition to this different political arrangement, he called for “a different approach to how we treat with and view boys in the society, especially those at the lower socio-economic level; a different narrative or type of conversation in our society – in the music, in the art and in the culture in general, and the use of social media to gain positive access to the minds of our people.