According to David Salmon, a Jamaican who was selected as a Rhodes Scholar for 2023, the communities on the island are in crisis and require immediate assistance, including the implementation of a comprehensive restorative justice system.
Salmon delivered the speech on Thursday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, which was the location of the 43rd Annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast with the subject “Strengthening Communities through Peace, Justice, and Forgiveness.”
Salmon stated, “Currently our communities are under crisis. A crisis of hopelessness, a crisis characterized by despair, choked by the snares of criminality… achieving lasting peace requires the recognition of the importance of placing God at the center of our relationships.”
Additionally, he said that for the communities to change for the better, the populace must “treat our neighbors with the respect that they deserve.”
“How many conflicts have started due to perceived disrespect, a snide remark? How many lives could have been saved if we stopped and remembered who we are? How many times has anger prevailed?” Salmon asked as he urged the public to remember that ‘we are each other’s keeper,’” Salmon noted.
Salmon, who was also awarded the HRH The Prince of Wales Commonwealth Scholarship, claimed that conciliation was also required in communities.
Salmon encourages the nation that is important to have, “ a consensus on crime and maintain an unwavering commitment to its implementation. Placing our communities at the center of these discussions is essential. To restore our communities, we must also use the fairness in carrying out justice.”
“Restorative justice is needed throughout our communities in order to amicably settle our disputes,” he noted.
Salmon turned to the country’s leaders and pleaded with them to abstain from corruption.
“We are looking for people who are committed to building our communities. We are united in our common purpose to see action on this front.” Salmon urged the nation’s young to behave honorably, saying, ” I take this opportunity to charge our leaders to resist the allure of corruption.”
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen stated in his speech that the government is devoted to justice.
Allen noted, “we hear the cry for justice. Sometimes it may be slow in the community through the lack of capacity and the resources, but we are committed.”
“Amid the need for peace, are also the cries for justice… Some of the ways we can continue to uplift our country is by strengthening and optimizing our justice system to better serve our country, encouraging reconciliation and rehabilitation outside of the official court system,” he added.
The Governor General also emphasized the need for the government to keep encouraging healthy relationships between people in the community through sports and other activities that would assist to spread the virtues of respect, discipline, and camaraderie.
“Continue to support the neighborhood watch through the community benevolence program, which are valuable tools that will encourage care and the welfare of others and the protection of personal and communal recreational property,” Allen remarked.