Seeking to score cheap political points is what politicians do.
The Minister of National Security Robert Montague’s said that among the issues his ministry was considering in attacking the crime monster is the resumption of hanging.
Montague said then quote: “Government remains committed to mobilizing all the resources at its disposal to wage a “relentless war” against criminal elements “intent on destroying our nation”. To this end, he said the Administration is currently exploring the possible resumption of hanging.” The Minister also said that state minister, Pearnel Charles Jr, has been asked to consult with several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Office, to determine if there are any “legal impediments” to be addressed. I thought the Minister’s statement was a little naive’ considering that in roughly 28 years not a single person has been hanged in Jamaica. The UK Privy Council which hears final appeals of Jamaican cases is opposed to hanging and in addition Jamaica has signed on to International treaties which ties its hands as far as effectively dealing with hardened criminals are concerned.
Notwithstanding, the Minister’s statements indicated to me that he means testing to see what could potentially be done toward the extraordinary high murder rate on the Island.
In response to Montague’s statement, opposition spokesperson on justice and former justice minister Mark Golding opined that hanging won’t be happening. Of course he went on to outline the reasons why he believed that there will be no resumption of hanging anytime soon. Quote:“I do not regard minister Montague’s announcement, that the Government is seeking “to determine if there are any legal impediments for the resumption of hanging in Jamaica”, as a serious policy initiative that will be implemented. The Government can’t hang more people; nor, as a practical matter, can Parliament. Only the courts can make that happen, and the courts are governed by the rule of law and, in particular, the human rights guarantees in our Constitution,”
Ha ha , there you have it the Constitutional guaranteed shackle. When the law becomes a shackle then the shackled become fools deserving of being shackled.
This statement in my opinion is proof positive that the previous Administration had no intention , desire or will to do anything about the run-away murders which took place on it’s watch.
The fact of the matter is that they view the issue of crime and law enforcement from the perspective of the accused murderer, rather than from the perspective of the innocent victim.
Additionally , Golding said that “the reactivation of the death penalty after 28 years would bring condemnation and adverse criticism on Jamaica from international development partners that are not in support of capital punishment“.
You simply cannot make this stuff up. Every so-called International partner of Jamaica has strict domestic laws and tough enforcement of those laws, – no treaty supersedes their individual constitutions. In the United States for example several states do carry out the death penalty as opposed to other states .Golding went on to say “Those states in the United States which retain and apply the death penalty (for example Texas) are not the states which enjoy the lowest murder rates in the US“.
I’m not sure where Golding gets his data from – States with the death penalty.
The fact of the matter is that most of the states which have done away with the death penalty are liberal New England states. There are a few outliers which are heavily conservative ,ie , Alaska, Iowa, West Virginia which has also abolished the death penalty as well.
My point is not in support of the death penalty or against it . I simply believe that Mark Golding’s arguments are not supported by facts.
In fact, non-death penalty states like Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, New Mexico,Maryland, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia literally disproves Golding’s arguments.
Now whether the death penalty is a deterrent against violent crimes I don’t know. What I do know is that the arguments that it’ isn’t are unproven and un-provable .
How does anyone know what the murder rates would be in states with the death penalty? Since we are unable to decide year by-by-year what the homicide rates would be in states with the death penalty, I don’t see how anyone can say it hasn’t worked at lowering numbers.
Technically speaking whether or not one supports the death penalty , it may be reasonably argued that those executed won’t return to kill again anytime soon. So one can reasonably say the death penalty is indeed a deterrent, at least to those executed.
I believe that Golding and many more like him do not care about reducing crime. They view crime as a necessary evil to be exploited. In actuality, that mindset transcends political party. It should come as no surprise that elements in both parties do agree on crime. That is that nothing should be done about it. Both parties have cadres of elitist lawyers and other University graduates who believe in the liberal ‘crapola’ that crime is fixed if you simply give people jobs.
If everyone had jobs it’s quite possible there would be less crime, or maybe citizens would have to deal with other forms of crime.
In the Scandinavian region of Europe there are lower crimes than say in the busy metropolises like New York or Los Angeles , but it is not exactly clear whether it’s because these societies provide jobs for their citizens or because they are largely homogeneous Caucasian societies with built in social safety nets. Or if they have a genetic pre-disposition not to commit crimes as some have argued.
Interest groups in both Jamaican political parties do see crime as something to be leveraged for political mileage. They approach crime from the perspective of the perpetrators. Their default position is to secure the interest of the accused , not the abused.
It’s naivete of the highest order to assume that crime can be fixed once we make people prosperous.
The reverse is true, crime takes away from people’s lives, on that basis alone people’s lives cannot be made better with astronomical crime levels intact.
Crime and Safety in Jamaica
According to CHAPTER 6: CRIME AND ITS IMPACT ON BUSINESS IN JAMAICA Jamaica has the one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world.
A high rate of violent crime can have many adverse repercussions:
It has a negative impact on the investment climate and can deter or delay both domestic and foreign investment, and hence growth.
It leads to higher cost of doing business, because of the need to employ different forms of security, and diverts investment away from business expansion and productivity improvement, and may lead to a less than optimal operating strategy.
It leads to business losses, arising from looting, arson, theft, extortion and fraud.
It leads to loss of output because of reduced hours of operation (including avoiding night shifts) or loss of workdays arising from outbreaks of violence, and avoidance of some types of economic activity.
It also reduces output because of the temporary (from injury) or permanent (from murder) exit of individuals from the labor force. In the latter case, the loss is not just current output, but the output in the remaining years of the individual’s working life.
It can also cause a permanent shut-down of firms or relocation to less crime-prone countries.
It erodes the development of human capital as well as social capital and thus constrains the potential for growth. The crime situation in Jamaica seems to be an important reason for migration, since the fear of crime significantly reduces the quality of life. Crime and violence have also been blamed for slowing down the rate of return of migrants back to Jamaica. Also, crime forces otherwise productive individuals to occasionally exit the labor force because of violent injury to themselves or close associates, or because of social unrest in the community. Violence in some communities also causes schools to close periodically. Moreover, home and community instability is not conducive to learning and educational objectives.
We won’t soon fix Jamaica’s crime situation unless a 180 degree turn is executed in the approach presently being used. Jamaicans simply are too tolerant of crime – some in positions of power are involved or benefiting from crime. That includes violent crimes.
Others are not exposed enough to understand that the approaches they espouse are making a bad situation worse. Since crime was equally as high under the former administration it would behoove Mark Golding to at least work with the new National security Minister to find solutions instead of grandstanding for the cameras.
Those statements do nothing to aid the fight, Sometimes simply remaining silent is way more valuable than offering up a non-solution.
By Mike Beckles – Check out his blog HERE
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