A view from the outside: Thin line between love and hate
With Karyl Walker
In the last few weeks, Jamaica has seen several women being murdered in macabre fashion by men who they were closely associated with.
The latest murder at the time of writing is that of Woman Constable Melissa Edwards-White who was chopped to death, allegedly by her husband at the couple’s Farmbrook Avenue home in Patrick City.
Just days before, news broke of another man going on a berserk rampage in Rosemount, St James. This time the victims were 45-year-old gas station supervisor, Diane Smith; and her 16- year-old daughter, Jayshenel Gordon. Both were stabbed multiple times. Their killer, Fabian Lyewsang, committed suicide by driving his motorcar into the Rio Cobre.
Weeks before, another macabre incident involving the unstable mental state of a male erupted into the machete slaying of Alesha Francis and her son Teco Jackson at Linton Park in St Ann.
Jamaica’s crime blotters are replete with cases of men killing their spouses or former lovers. What could drive a man to so brutally end the life of a woman whom who he shared intimate moments with and must have some tender feelings if not undying love for? ‘What could drive a man to harm an innocent child?’ Is even a more disturbing question.
Alesha Francis and her 10-year-old son, Teco Jackson, who were both chopped to death in Linton Park, St Ann last month. The perpetrator was Francis' ex-lover, Orville "Bull" Scarlett.
The answers may never be truly discerned, but a closer look into how most relationships in Jamaica are structured may provide an insight into such brutal crimes.
Crimes rooted in domestic violence are virtually unstoppable. The police cannot be present in every household where there is turmoil between lovers.
In many cases in Jamaica, relationships are built on finances. A woman has no feelings for a man but stays with him as he can pay the bills, assist with her and her children’s education and afford her a gateway out of poverty. The man is her money tree, her cash cow. As long as he provides, he will be tolerated and that woman will fake orgasms, put up with below par lovemaking and endure bad breath and smelly feet, just for the financial security.
On the other hand, some men use their money to buy the woman’s love. It is a cat and mouse game of convenience. After all, this is Jamaica where ‘ginnalship’ is law.
Fabian Lyewsang went on a beserk rampage in St James last week, killing his common-law wife Diane Smith and her daughter, 16- year-old, Jayshenel Gordon, before committing suicide.
But it is a game that can and does have deadly consequences.
When I resided in Jamaica, I knew a man who had a good job, lived in an apartment in an upper middle class community and lived better than many Jamaicans. As is the case in many communities, a ghetto is always nearby any upper class or middle class community. The man, who was happily married, made contact with a female from an impoverished community nearby and soon they were sex partners.
Being the kindhearted man he was, the gentleman made sure that the woman’s children attended school, set her up with a small business and took care of her needs. In turn she made sure to keep him sexually satisfied.
Months into the relationship, the man started to show himself as a picture of desperation. He began to drink heavily and was always judging a sour disposition. I then discovered that the woman, who he had by then fallen in love with, had taken up with a young ‘steppa’ and did not even have the manners to tell him that he was a history lesson. The man only found out when, after not being able to contact the female he thought was his partner, went to her house down the lane and saw her in bed with the young man. Both of them fast asleep.
It turned out the man was being used as, whenever he gave her money to cook, it would be used to feed and clothe the young man also.
It almost drove him crazy but that man was able to pick up the pieces and move on with his life.
Not all males are so strong, however, and many will ensure that a female who takes their kindness for weakness will never live to repeat the unkind act even if it means their own lives will end.
I am by no means condoning these acts as, in my view, if a man gives a woman anything at all he should see it as just that - a gift. A woman is not a commodity that is paid for with cash or kind and the woman never held a gun to his head and forced him to fork out his cash.
That said, some women are so callous that they would bleed a man dry, charm him into making bad decisions like neglecting his children and wife and giving her his all. Then she just gets up and leaves and, in some cases, gets involved with another male who will even boast that he was the beneficiary of the other man’s benevolence.
That coupled with the unkind jeering which is certain to be delivered by gossips may have a devastating effect on a man’s psyche and who knows what his reaction might be?
Too many of these crimes have happened in Jamaica because both males and females have the wrong priorities going into a relationship.
Men, be careful how you spend your money on these women. As John Holt said in song: ‘They will rob and cheat you. They will make you wanna cry.’
Women, look for real qualities in a man and be prepared to build a life with someone. Be independent. Learn to earn your own money and be your own boss. Rid yourselves of the ‘man fi mind me’ mentality. Nothing in life is free and the cost may just be your life and that of your children if and when you decide to call it quits.
That is my view from the outside.
Karyl Walker is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked for Loop Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, the RJR Communications Group and Nationwide Radio among other media entities. He now resides in South Florida.