Jamaica Police Commissioner Tackles Dancehall Lyrics That Glorify Violence

jamaica policeIt’s the extremities in the dancehall music being produced by some artistes that get to Police Commissioner Owen Ellington.

The lyrics, he insists, are being used to threaten witnesses, discourage co-operation with the police, and enforce a code of silence in communities held hostage by gangsters.

Just as bad, they are influencing behavior among children who, he said, will grow up believing that violence is normal.

“Gangs shape the environment for the continuous commission of criminal activity from which they make money,” Ellington argued at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange last week.

“One of the things that they do in shaping that environment is that they enforce what we refer to as a code of silence, where citizens see crime and are afraid to report them, where citizens are unwilling to co-operate with law enforcement, and where citizens may actually turn against others who co-operate with law enforcement,” the police commissioner added.

“They do this in a number of ways — overt, physically on the streets, staring down people, issuing verbal threats, etc, searching the cellphones of citizens to see if they have police numbers in them or 119, the numbers of well-known policemen and they victimize citizens for that, they have even killed people who have the numbers of policemen in their phones,” Ellington said.

He argued, though, that the method most utilized by gangs to enforce this code of silence is the lyrics in some of the music.

“For example, they advocate killing of informers, murdering of witnesses, murdering of policemen and doing certain things to silence individuals in communities,” the commissioner said, before giving graphic examples of some of the lyrics that have pushed him to support tough measures proposed in the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act, more popularly known as the Ani-gang legislation.

“There are songs, for example, which suggest that the guy has 119 in his phone on speed dial, so fire a bullet in him head quick before him can redial,” Ellington related.

Read the full story at Jamaicaobserver.com






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