Discrimination card isn’t necessary

The recent agitation against Cayman’s new visa policy for Jamaicans is quite understandable.

It is simply unacceptable to play the discrimination card where the Cayman Islands is concerned.

Jamaicans who live and work in the Cayman Islands are 100 per cent better off here than in their own country where they face violent persecution on a daily basis.

Consider the following extracts from Amnesty International’s report on the state of Jamaica by the end of 2002:

‘In elections on 16 October the People’s National Party was returned to power. The elections were accompanied by an increase in politically motivated violence, with at least 60 people killed in the days leading to the election.’

‘At least 133 people were killed by the police during the year. Many of the killings appeared to be extrajudicial executions. There were continuing reports of unlawful arrests and detention, and increasing reports of ill-treatment, possibly amounting to torture, in police custody.’

‘There was a continuing failure to hold perpetrators of human rights violations to account and to offer redress to victims. Investigations into alleged extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations were inadequate.’

‘Conditions in prisons and other places of detention were harsh and in many cases amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. There were many reports of male rape, particularly of inmates suffering from mental illness.’

‘In October a coalition of women’s organizations presented a petition to political parties in Jamaica, ahead of the general election. The petition called for measures to be taken to eradicate violence against women and gender-based discrimination, in light of continued high reported levels of rape and other forms of violence against women.’

‘There were continued reports of attacks on homosexuals by both the public and the police.’

If certain self-anointed human rights activists in the Cayman Islands genuinely wish to help the plight of the Jamaican people they should leave the comfort of their air-conditioned living rooms and hop on a plane and take up the cause where the suffering actually takes place, rather than issuing silly claims about discrimination in the Cayman Islands.

Andrew Reid

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