Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson is lamenting over the state of Jamaica’s moral decline, which he said has deteriorated ‘beyond belief’ over the last twenty years.
Patterson was prime minister of Jamaica from 1992-2006.
Addressing the Rotary Club of Spanish Town’s meeting last night at the Police Officers Club in Kingston, Patterson said there is a greater level of mistrust swirling around the country than when he launched the Values and Attitude campaign back in 1994.
He expressed that irreproachable leadership is needed in various sectors across the country, from the political arena to the church.
“What we need now is … a new trajectory that spans the political, religious and social divide that avoids the mistrust and risk averse character of some in our society and the tensions which exist”.
He noted that the absence of criminal charges or the acquittal from a crime should not be the yardstick by which political parties and voters use to measure those contesting for public office.
“Today there is a growing sense of alienation and greater distrust of leadership in politics, in our legal system, our national institutions, corporate business, the church,” the former prime minister stated, adding that the country is now at the extreme edge of a major precipice.
He said in spite of the efforts that were made at the time, crime and violence and urban ghettos along with ethical standards have now become the mainstay across Jamaica.
Citing what he referred to as a few disturbing trends such as widespread electricity theft, the reported fire-bombing of the Tacky High School and the attacks on Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses, Patterson said he did not need statistics to prove that the moral fiber of the country is withering away.
The entertainment and media fraternity were not let off the hook, as Patterson said the “purveyors of vulgarity and obscenities” in the industries should take heed and look at the experiences of their colleagues who have themselves become victims of crimes.
He also said new technology is serving to further erode the values and morals of the country, as they are being used for illicit purposes such as lottery scamming.
However, he noted that all is not lost but Jamaicans must begin to stop seeing things against party lines as “values and attitude is not a political football”.
He said in order for things to change, each citizen will have to play an active role in being a part of the change.