Jamaica close to despair, bishop warns


George Conger in CofE Newspaper

The Bishop of Jamaica has accused members of the island’s government of collusion with the criminal underworld. Jamaica was close to despair, Dr. Alfred Reid said last week, with little to distinguish government from organized crime.

However, statistics released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) showed that violent crime declined over the last year, for the first time since 1999.

“What is the state of our Jamaican society at this time?” Dr. Reid asked delegates attending the 141st diocesan synod in Falmouth. The “lines” between the state and the “criminal underworld” had “blurred”, he said.

Jamaicans did not know “who to trust and who to fear, where an honest person must compete with extortionists of various types and where the underground economy is probably bigger than the official one.”

The unofficial economy was being “skillfully manipulated by a few” for their own benefit, “while another group called taxpayers are required to pay not only for all the social benefits they enjoy but also for the high cost of corruption,” the bishop said.

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