Jamaica: Update--Canadian Embassy, Kingston Needs to Weigh-In, Apply Pressure on Police
According to The Associated Press, Jamaican police said Monday (January 13) they have no suspects in the slaying of Canadian Shirley Lewis-McFarlane, 53, who is from upscale Aurora, near Toronto, was found murdered in her rented home in Discovery Bay, a north coast tourist town. Her body was found inside of her rental on December 30.
COMMENT: From all indications, the Canadian Embassy in Kingston has said very little. As a foreign embassy charged with representing the interests of Canadians who visit Jamaica, particularly in response to the frequent tourism advertisements, the message obviously is: "Don't get murdered in Jamaica."
The only acknowledgment that St. Ann Parish Police Superintendent Yvonne Martin-Daley has said is that Lewis-McFarlane died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma during an attack in her rental house in Discovery Bay, which is very well known to Ms. Lewis-McFarlane's three adult children who actually need to know precisely what viable leads the Jamaican police actually have in finding their Mother's killer. As mentioned in my previous posting, Ms. Lewis-McFarlane reportedly married Jamaican national Carl McFarlane in 2001, yet police have neither affirmed or refuted that Mr. McFarlane is alive, dead, missing or even a suspect.
St. Ann parish Police Superintendent Yvonne Martin-Daley said four people have been questioned in recent days, but no arrests have been made.
Some 1,200 people were slain last year in Jamaica, on an island-nation with 2.7 million inhabitants, compared to 1,097 murders in 2012. The conviction rate for homicides in Jamaica is just 5%, which is a far cry from convictions in developed nations.
I recently reported in a posting related to the high murder rate in Puerto Rico, which for a country of 3.7 million people, has DOUBLE the murder rate of Chicago! Comparatively, Puerto Rico has a clearance rate of 25% for homicides compared to 75% on the Mainland.
It appears that in Jamaica, life is indeed viewed as being very, very cheap, even for foreigners such as Ms. Lewis-McFarlane. What a pity it is that she can't speak to us from the grave and tell us who murdered her.
I retired from the US State Department in April 2006, after a career as a special agent, Senior Regional Security Officer (SRSO), director of training, chief investigator of the Cyprus Missing Persons Program, director of security of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and as a senior adviser in the Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance.
My book, STAYING SAFE ABROAD: TRAVELING, WORKING AND LIVING IN A POST-9/11 WORLD was published in May 2008.
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