“The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.”
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Jamaican Youths and the Lottery Scam: Story of Poverty, Wealth and Desire
Before I opted to write about this issue I thought instead of giving a journalistic, scholastic standpoint to the issue. I would attack it from the heart of this phenomenon. I have decided to show the acts of deceit and fraud from the viewpoint of the perpetrator.
I will show the motivation behind the lottery scam involving Jamaicans and United States citizen which has increase the national revenue obtained from remittances but has fomented a rise in violence and murders within the city of Montego Bay and given birth to a new, young vain elites, whose mantra is “get rich or die trying”.
Some people look at the young people in Jamaica that are perpetrating these acts of debauchery, criminality and fraudulence as indolent, depraved youths, lacking ambition, morality and sense of accountability. But few people have ever seen the gully sides of Jamaica. Few individuals know that sixty percent of Jamaican males live on less than sixty dollars a day that is less than a United States dollar. A great number of Jamaican males are illiterate, unskilled and unemployed.
Few persons could survive the living conditions that many Jamaicans survive within daily. The rich have always wondered how the poor live the way they do and continued to survive and generate some sense of happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction. It is because they have learned to be content with their plight. They have to accept their quandary before it destroys them.
Apparently the current youth generation does not have that level of patience, tolerance or acceptance. Youngsters will not accept that they should be poor because their parents are not wealthy. They have become disillusioned with the decrepit state of the economy, the exploitation, corruption and governmental maladministration of politicians and the abuse and incompetence of the police force. The young men have decided that they need to find a viable alternative that will give them the desirable lifestyle that they see on television and hear about. The youths concocted the international lottery and sweepstakes scam.
A scam that would lead to a rise of youthful millionaires living like the biblical prodigal with hefty bank accounts and mansions: a new cadre of elites with a ghetto swagger and the arrogance and net worth of fortune five hundred CEOs. Youths as young as sixteen years old are becoming millionaires overnight, driving Chryslers, Range Rovers and Jaguars. Young adults from the inner-city are becoming the new elites. They have earned the right to be called the best in society. A society that they know very well honors and grade individuals based on their socio-economic status. They know that being poor is far more socially repulsive than being a criminal or a drug lord.
In fact the illegal characters in the society are lauded more than the law abiding citizens. Poverty in itself is a crime and the youths from the ghettos know that. A criminal is granted more respect than a poor man. A poor man is disrespected, stared up on with social derision and contempt by those who are often only a few notches above them on the social ladder.
The lottery scam and sweepstakes scheme provided a venue for social upliftment at the expense of innocent Americans. According to some fraudsters, what they have taken from the Americans is peanuts compared to the great way in which their lives have been improved. In the fraudsters mind, scams are necessarily evils. According to one scammer “it is the greedy individuals who are jeopardizing the business by bilking people…we do not bilk we just take a little for sustenance and we move on”. According to this scammer, people cannot be satisfied with the little that they procure. He says that this is the stimulus behind the crime and violence stemming from the lottery scam. “Some individuals need to be taught that they cannot try to outwit the system and steal from us” Now that is what I call a twisted, warped sense of justice and morals.
Poverty is made to be situation that youngsters should be ashamed of. When you tell a man that you are poor, he assumes based on the notions of our capitalistic society that your destitution is due to your lassitude, lack of ambition and vision. Few bystanders consider that the plight of the have not is far more sociologically and economically strategic than what meets the eye.
On the other hand, there are individuals who possess aptitudes, resources and opportunities for advancement and have chosen to allow torpor and negative factors to stymie their progress. Even so the poor and their progeny will live in poverty because they cannot afford to send their children to school because education is very expensive and above the financing of many Jamaican parents. They cannot afford to buy medicines to aid their family members because medication is unaffordable.
This is what the young scammers see before they choose a life of crime and decadence. It is very debilitating and pitiful to know that your mother will die because you cannot afford to send her to the doctor or that you are looked down on as inferior because your parents cannot afford to send you to college. Imagine being disrespected and despised by others because you were born in a particular community or your parents are impecunious. Scammers simply want to beat the system to a better life for their family and friends with minimal effort.
They do not want to take the legitimate road because it is long and hard. They want an easy way out. Some have become very disenchanted by the Jamaican economical system and society and resign that they will never be able to make it to the top by means of the straight road. The church offers little or no solace for the economical times. The people have lost interest in god and religion because praying does not alleviate their quandary. In fact the pastors are more concerned with building their congregation than with the traditional duties of the churches within the Jamaican communities. My dad once said that I should stop going to church because for a brilliant scholar, my church have never offered me any form of assistance. In fact at the end of a sermon, I often feel worst than I did when I came in due to the religious interrogation my conscience was subjected to and feelings of disillusion due to being made to feel substandard on my quest for eternal life in God’s celestial home by my pastor.
Jamaicans have come to realized that politicians are far more interested in power and wealth accumulation though increase taxations and exploitation of the labour force than they are in the welfare of the public. The elite distance themselves from the poor and pretend as if the suffering of the lower classes is happening on another planet and not on the outskirts of their salubrious communities. A morose ambience clouds the Jamaican demography.
This issue was not meant to excuse the behavior of scammers nor do I advocate fraud and financial crimes. I do no moralize or support acts of deceit, fraud and extortion. The issue was geared at exposing the socio-economical and psychological factors behind perpetrators of scams.