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‘Choppa’ songs blamed for scamming surge

‘Choppa’ songs blamed for scamming surge

Posted  36 Views updated 29 days ago

The glorification of ‘chopping’ in popular dancehall songs is being blamed as a factor fuelling the rise in lottery scamming in western Jamaica.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn, who made the pronouncement, said it is also troubling that many youth have shunned formal employment, preferring scamming as the “holy grail”.

She noted, too, that women and entire households are turning to the alluring get-rich scheme.

While delivering the keynote address at the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA) and the Jamaica Institute of Financial Service anti-fraud seminar at the Terra Nova Hotel Thursday, the island’s chief prosecutor shared that of the 110 new matters listed in the Westmoreland Circuit Court’s Easter Term, about 80 were for charges of possession of identity information.

“And when you saw some of the young people coming before the court, and women, too, and you realise, based on my dialogue with the investigating officers, that you have whole families, you have young people who no longer aspire to a profession or vocation. Their aspiration is to be a ‘choppa’,” Llewellyn said.

“And then you have the culture, the music, in some respects, and I am going to say it and confront it. The music that is being played and sung by our young people glorifies chopping, which is to become a scammer. Can you imagine?” she asked.

The DPP charged that the songs legitimise the multibillion-dollar transnational crime, the proceeds of which help finance the procurement of illegal guns and ammunition. Scamming warlords are often engaged in conflicts over lead sheets, clients, and money, which plays out in brazen killings.

Though not offering data, the DPP said that identity theft was on the increase and presented a real concern, especially in epicentres of lottery scamming such as St James, Trelawny, and Hanover. There is also an insidious rise in the incidence of scamming in St Elizabeth, she said.

The near-two-year hiatus from physical classes resulted in a psychological shift for many students who now validate hustling, using computers, to make quick money.

Combating that mindset and refocusing the youth on good citizenship, she suggested that financial institutions collaborate to sponsor a vigorous public education campaign.

“We have to find a way to reorient a lot of young people to the value of real work,” said Llewellyn.

“You have to take the fight; you have to wrestle with the conscience and the lack of proper moral compass of a lot of our young people. You have to help to neutralise the songs that are celebrating chopping, and I think this is part and parcel of your responsibilities.”

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DPP

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