He added that the problem had found its way into business and politics.
Carmona made the remarks yesterday during the swearing-in ceremony of Professor Gerard Hutchinson as a member of the Mercy Committee. He said the issue of mental health was one that deserved full focus with Hutchinson’s appointment.
“One thing I must mention is the degeneration or deterioration of society’s mental health,” Carmona said. “In recent years more and more people are becoming more combative and belligerent and it is an issue which is found in politics, business to even the man in the street. “In that regard, I am pleading to Professor Hutchinson to continue his proactive role in his new position as a board member.” Carmona also called on society to show greater compassion and understanding to the plight of others, citing the plight of former inmates in readjusting to life after serving their sentence. He further urged the mercy committee to exercise institutional mercy, pardon and compassion when deserved.
“I know many of you may be associated with the prison inside but there is also the prison outside.” Carmona said. “I say this because when a person is released from prison, he has that stain on him for the rest of his life.
“He is unable to apply for a job in the public sector, he is unable to join the protective services, sometimes he cannot even obtain a visa to go abroad. In other words, that person lives in a daily cell through a lack of opportunity.” After the ceremony, Hutchinson said that while he understood the responsibility before him was a large one, he was not daunted by the task ahead.
He said, “The responsibility does seem like it will be a lot of work but I believe that I will be able to do the best that I can through this appointment.
And I know, that in my new role, psychology will be able to assume a greater focus.” Hutchinson added that while crime and violence continued to remain top-tier priorities, it was important that society maintained compassion and understanding for one another.
“Mercy and forgiveness should be at the heart of the country’s agenda but it is important that despite violence we understand that crime from somewhere and we must treat with these root causes.” Hutchinson currently serves as a Professor at the University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences and is the head of the psychology unit at the Mount Hope General Hospital.