Jamaica observes Emancipation Day with promise to erode criminal gangs and dons

Holness emancipation message

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness in his message to mark Emancipation Day on Wednesday, said his administration is  “working assiduously to erode the criminal gangs and dons” across the country.

Bring tyranny to an end

As crime and violence grips the nation, Holness urged Jamaicans to help “bring this tyranny to an end. Free yourself of the notion that the violent criminal gangs cannot be brought to end. Resist them by using the trustworthy channels to provide information to the authorities.” he said. “In setting aside today, we stand, as our ancestors stood, looking back at the brutality and violence meted out to us, and reject it, while looking forward at the boundless opportunities of our freedom.”

Danger of forgetfulness

Holness also warned that, “The danger of forgetfulness is to repeat the danger we forgot. Isn’t it ironic that we as a people who suffered under systematic violence and brutality inflicted by enslavers, are now inflicting violence on ourselves and depriving our own people of freedom. I am certain that (National Hero) Sam Sharpe would be very disappointed at how pervasive and acceptable violence has become in society and culture….brutality never rights a wrong.”

“Today…..let us commit to being kinder, gentler, more patient, and more civil with each other. Today, let us emancipate ourselves from violence,” the Prime Minister pleaded.

Opposition Leader’s message

Meanwhile, leader of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Dr. Peter Phillips, urged Jamaicans to draw from the experiences of their ancestors for the inspiration needed to face challenges today.  

“In the face of the challenge the country faces today to maintain the moral foundations of our nationhood and the standards of integrity needed in national leadership, we must remember that the gains made in the past were made by virtue of the collective action of our people in their trade unions, community organizations, civic associations, and political parties. We will need the same level of cooperation to sustain our effort to build upon the foundations of our emancipation and provide every Jamaican with opportunity, food, shelter, security, healthcare, education, and all the benefits of modern life,” Phillips said.

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