‘Jamaica’s violence nurtured’
by PATRICK WARDUNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES Principal, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, says what’s happening in Tivoli Gardens in West Kingston, Jamaica, is a result of the state’s failure. He also said the current violence had been nurtured. “I’ve always been troubled as a Caribbean national by the violence against the Jamaican people and the violence in their minds, the casual acceptance of the horror of human degradation amidst tremendous wealth and opulence,” he said.Beckles also drew reference to Laventille in Trinidad and the fact that it was considered a safe seat for political parties – a scenario he described as “a cluster of votes best corralled and kept there for five years at a time”.“I think it is time for us Caribbean academics to resent these kinds of things. I’m not asking you to rebel. I’m just asking you to resent deeply this notion that persons are not citizens with rights and the wealth of societies hinges around those that come to power,” the UWI pro-vice chancellor said.Noting that the state’s systems were failing in much the same way that the workers fled to the hills and resisted Toussaint’s regime in the aftermath of his liberation, Beckles said the workers simply did not want to participate in Toussaint’s structure of economic development with its unlimited supplies of labour.“Tivoli is really an expression that absence of imagination that believes that the Jamaican people represent an unlimited supply of labour,” he added.His comments came as he delivered the feature address at the opening of the 35th annual conference of the Caribbean Studies Association at the UWI’s Cave Hill Campus on Monday night.He said there had been a systematic exclusion of the majority of people. “In fact, I can tell you that my principle observation, having lived there for over 20 years, is that the government in Jamaica is about foreign exchange.