One of the questions we hear these days is “how does Jamaica fix its crime problem ?
Of course many Jamaicans have varying ideas on how to arrive at a place where crime is at a tolerable level. At the same time others will argue that any level of crime is intolerable. Pragmatically speaking I am of the opinion that as a modern society we will have to grapple with a certain degree of criminal behavior be it blue or white collar , or both.
What is obvious from many Jamaicans particularly those living abroad who are no longer subjected to the daily killings around the corner or next door, is their level of frustration at what appears to be the Government’s inability to do something about the problem. Many demand an end to the killings and other acts of criminality though they have no idea how that goal is to be achieved.
Many are calling for a return to the days of the death penalty. Of course those emotional calls do not take into consideration the social and legal hurdles which prevent Jamaica, a small dependent state from using the death penalty as a punitive tool.
One thing is certain however, is that Jamaica’s over five decades of support and romanticizing of crime and criminals has resulted in what the country is experiencing now and it will not change overnight.
We absolutely need relief from the blood-letting. But we need to be clear-eyed that:
(1) Wishing away the problem is not a solution.
(2) Asking for Divine Intervention (though laudable) will not fix the problem – God helps those who help themselves.
(3) Applying quick-fixes and draconian measures does not fix the problem , it rather exacerbates them.
So what are some of the solutions I would offer in order to start the process of rolling back this out of control crime you ask ?
Here is where I believe the nation must start:
(1) A Government that is itself not a criminal organization.
(2) A Government that drafts and passes serious anti-crime laws.
(3) A revamping of the failed criminal justice system.
(4) Judges who respect the laws.
(5) Truth in sentencing.
(6) Create economic opportunities.
(7) Training and equipping the CIB branch of the police department.
(8) Repealing, re-wording, and reauthorizing the INDECOM Act.
(9) Creation of a mindset conducive to respect for the rule of law.
(10) Strong support for Police Officers.
(11) Most importantly changing our country to one where all are equal under the laws. Politicians and the well connected cannot be above the Nation’s Laws.
This is a road map which will see a gradual southward trend in crime. Failing which crime will continue to trend upward and blood will continue to run unabated.
This will require (A) a different mindset from that which exists in the Political Directorate. Or (B) Using the ballot box simply to send the present Government/Party to Political Oblivion and keep it there.
♦ Whomever forms the next Administration must then embark on a systematic and strategic path aimed at rooting out crime.
♦That must begin with a total and unequivocal denouncement of criminals and criminal-gangs by the new administration, making it abundantly clear that no act of criminality will be tolerated or shielded by the Government.
♦That means removing the sanctuary of protection Jamaica’s criminals are accustomed to from Politicians.
♦Then begin the process of effecting change.
This process will be extremely difficult due to the decades of lawlessness…
Some observers have argued that the process of returning Jamaica to peace and stability would require that power be taken from the people and placed into the hands of a Dictator who would begin the process of eliminating crime from the country then return the power to the people after a decade.
I cannot support any such plan even though I understand the path I outlined would be difficult due to the lawlessness and indiscipline of the Jamaican masses.
The alternative would be to move swiftly to remove political hacks from positions of power throughout the public sector and taking control of the message from day one, explaining to the broad cross section of the people in the rural areas just how the plans being put in place will improve their lives in the long run.
Even then the position of the new Administration would be tenuous, Jamaicans are addicted to the sweet nothingness of the cotton-candy politics of the present Administration from Independence.
Weaning them off the disastrous effects of those policies onto the long term positive effects of veggies and juice will be a challenge many Jamaicans are incapable of assimilating.
But it’s worth a try.
By Mike Beckles – Check out his blog HERE
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