Yesterday I wrote about the need for the Jamaican Government to stop pussy-footing around and recognize law-enforcement for it’s value to the country. Even as I believe passionately in the rule of law and it’s necessity in society. I am also viscerally passionate about the right of individuals to being secure in their persons. The points raised by those opposed to cameras in public spaces are legitimate concerns that warrants serious discussion and debate.The challenge for law-enforcement particularly in large Metropolises is, how to balance a healthy respect for individual freedoms and privacy while at the same time making sure they are able to keep residents safe. Criminal terrorist have to get it right only once, Law-enforcement has to get it right a hundred percent of the time to avert disaster. Even as I extol the virtues of CCTV as one more tool in the fight against crime and terror, I also believe that we should watch those who we commission to watch the criminals. The Police state is not something any of us except those with sinister motives want. As such we must be vigilant in ensuring that even as we acquiesce to present day necessities, we should guardedly protect the traditional freedoms we hold dear. Terrorists who exert their will through fear, does not stop trying to kill and maim simply because we cannot figure out how to balance privacy and security. As evidenced with the situation in Jamaica, Special Interest groups squabble over small stuff criminals simply show their disdain by shooting out the cameras placed there in down-town Kingston.
The distrust that citizens have of Government and it’s Agents that they will do the right thing with footage harvested from CCTV cameras, is a legitimate concern. Government Agents, the world over have never failed to abuse the trust placed in them. Even in the United States some politicians introduce Bills that if passed into law would seriously limit the role of Government in people’s lives. Irrespective of other sinister motives they may harbor, they understand as well as anyone else the need to hold Government accountable. So for interest groups in Jamaica who are opposed to CCTV cameras, I suggest you call your elected representative and let them know you want legislation which protects the innocent from predators , even as we ensure that Government does not tamper with our freedoms and privacy.