Jamaica Observer:– SHAGGY feels sincere dialogue with the youths in hotbed inner-city communities could unearth some answers to the crime wave that is sweeping Jamaica.
The platinum-selling artiste made the assertions at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange held at the newspaper’s Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston yesterday. Shaggy was accompanied by Haitian American superstar Wyclef Jean. Both acts are scheduled to appear on the Shaggy and Friends charity concert at Jamaica House in St Andrew on Saturday.
“What if we come into a town hall meeting? Seh we go a Tivoli, for argument sake. Yuh have Shaggy, Usain Bolt; people who come from nothing but have made it. Which badman or don inna one community nah go come siddung when mi seh: ‘Yow, Shaggy and Bolt waan come hold a reason?’ … Mek dem know seh the position weh dem inna, we did inna at some point; the poverty weh you a feel, we did feel. I don’t think a badman just get up and just start kill people so. There’s something going on; dem bruk, dem hungry, there’s no opportunity, their education isn’t right,” said Shaggy.
Last year Jamaica recorded more than 1,612 murders, a spike of more than 19 per cent over the previous year.
Shaggy said he has proposed his initiative to a receptive Commissioner of Police George Quallo. The two, however, are yet to meet to iron out the details.
“We need to educate them (the criminals). They need to see what their repercussions are when they decide seh dem a go rob da man. If his shop employed 13 people, that’s 13 families… So you just put 13 families out of a job, what do you leave them to do? You just created a next set of criminals,” he said.
Shaggy admitted that one conversation will not solve the issue of crime, but noted that it would be a step in the right direction.
He also pointed out that other factors including abuse, unemployment, discrimination and frustration impact crime. He made mention of deejay Agent Sasco’s recent visit to the Metclafe Street Juvenile Remand Centre in St Andrew, where he encouraged wards to make positive changes.
“When Sasco tell me what was going on with them youths there, I was being educated. Police can look at the hot spots and we go and campaign and do weh Sasco do — go in front a each man and reason wid dem. We’re so busy talking, how about listening to them and hearing what they have to say? They may have a lot of things to say ’cause we’re out of the loop. We just a read The Observer and The Gleaner and a draw our own opinions on them. But there are a lot of things going on there that we don’t know,” he added.
Shaggy (given name Orville Burrell) won Best Reggae Grammy for his album Boombastic in 1996. His biennial concert, which was first held in 2009, has raised more $255 million for Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew.