The alleged cutting of a Rastafarian woman’s dreadlocks by the police on July 22, 2021 caused a huge wave of outrage on Jamaican social media. I wrote about the case here for Global Voices.
Well, once the storm of outrage had died down – and other news items and new “things to be shocked about” replaced it (the normal behavior of Jamaican netizens)… What happened? It has gone rather quiet. The recently formed Advocates Network has something to say about this. One hopes that the media will follow up on this, also. Meanwhile, we wait…and wait. However, inequity (perceived or otherwise) persists.
Citizens Demand Accountability!
Kingston, Jamaica. September 29, 2021: It is OUTRAGEOUS that after more than two months, the allegation of a police officer cutting off the locks of Ms. Nzinga King on July 22, 2021 while she was in custody is still unresolved. Neither her family nor the Jamaican public have had confirmation about the outcome of any investigation.
Members of the Advocates Network have been tracking the status of the case since it was brought to public attention. On September 16th the public was informed by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson that the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) took charge of the probe into the allegation and he awaited the outcome.
Further, we were deeply concerned to hear that the Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry was obstructed by police at the Four Paths Police Station on September 17th in her attempt to investigate the matter.
It is shocking that citizens who have complaints of human rights violations as those alleged in this instance, should again be faced with another example where it seems that there is a callous disregard for those who are Black, poor and without social connection. It seems that these citizens have to stand aside to the privilege of the ‘haves’ in whose interest the system seems to operate.
The Advocates Network calls on INDECOM and the responsible Authorities to ensure that their tardiness to public calls for justice, do not serve to throw fuel on the fire of public resentment at what is seen as disregard for poor people’s interest. Instead, every opportunity must be taken by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, INDECOM and other agents of the State to build public trust and engender confidence among citizens.
We ignore this imperative to our collective peril. Concerned and committed citizens demand accountability to achieve an equitable and just democracy!
For more information, contact:
Indi Mclymont-Lafayette – Tel (876) 852-8763
Patricia Donald Phillips – Tel (876) 455 – 3650
The Advocates Network is an unincorporated, non-partisan alliance of individuals and organizations advocating for human rights and good governance to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people of Jamaica and to transform lives. Our core objective is to forge an effective, broad-based collaboration of individuals and civil society organizations to support human rights and good governance issues.