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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Genocide of the jumbies?

Can somebody explain what is happening to the “jumbies” in Soufriere Town? Is it a coincidence that in the past few days those four jumbies have suddenly lost their lives – just like that! The PowerHouse attempted to reach the district rep for a “social” comment on the matter; but contact could not be established. 

 Just as Soufriere’s landscape has a beautifully artistic configuration, so are Soufrierians themselves a creative and imaginative people. And so there is no shortage of unconfirmed reports and “community theories” to help explain what they dub as this “mysterious occurrence”. Even more creative are the attribution theories which I can’t share with you – unfortunately! Perhaps, the most popular account is the community theory that an “unidentified poisonous substance” (UPS) may have been placed into the “drugs” sold or given to the victims.

The accounts for the decimation of the Soufriere jumbies may be believable because of widespread reports that they are nuisance to tourists, but the question is: is there any truth to them?

First of all, the PowerHouse wishes to make it clear that our editorial staff does not believe that there was any deliberate “genocide of the jumbies”. On one hand, they may be personally responsible for their own “self-destruction”. On the other hand, however, they are also a helpless, vulnerable group with nowhere - and perhaps no one - to turn to. What would we do if we found ourselves in that unfortunate position? What would we do if society generally treated us as a “waste product” and nobody cared for us?

One institution which offered a ray of hope to them was the Caribbean Development Bank (Social Sector Division). In its BNTF programmes, CDB advised Borrowing Member Countries to pay some measure of attention to those unfortunate homeless males with a view to rehabilitate them.

The agency vested with the mandate for vulnerability reduction is Ministry of Social Transformation (plus its social agencies, especially SSDF - a merger of the PRF & BNTF). But the question is: to what extent are they doing so? The view on the ground is the both the Ministry and SSDF have “absconded” from that mandate at the behest of Mr Chou and the Government Ministers. The once promising Spider orchestrated the absconding when he tasted the honey in the Taiwanese million.

The alleged "Genocide of Jumbies" in Soufriere is a matter perhaps worth looking into. We should perhaps start looking at the other towns and villages around St. Lucia to see if a pattern is developing.  We also need to start looking seriously into programmes that will help rehabilitate those unfortunate "sons and daughters of St. Lucia" who have fallen by the roadside. Genocide should never be an option.

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