Among the raft of suggestions I have proposed for tackling the crime epidemic in Jamaica are mandatory minimum sentences for certain category of crimes as well as a full repeal of the INDECOM and Bail acts and a re-passage of both laws with added components which reflects the seriousness of the times in which we live.
Finally, parts of the Administration in Kingston are also calling for the very same things we have been advocating across administrations for the last decade or more.
A couple of years ago I put together this plan which I updated at the time the Parliament was debating the ZOSO Act, since then there has not been much movement toward any of the bullet points.
Well, now we have begun to see some cracking, at least some of the rhetoric coming from the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Security tend to indicate that they are beginning to get it.
Either that, or there are moves afoot to placate the police as they demand a livable wage. Which would suggest that the administration fully appreciates and understand what needs to be done to stop this galloping crime wave and make the job of the police more impactful?
On Sunday Holness acknowledged that INDECOM was hurting law enforcement efforts, a point I have made systematically for the last seven years.
At the same conference, Minister of National Security told supporters “We are moving to tighten our gun laws because in 84 percent of all crimes in Jamaica, the gun is present, and we don’t make guns in Jamaica. So we are going to tighten the gun laws. And when I take a law to Parliament, I want you, the Labourites, to stand with us, and we will find out if the other people dem a guh stand wid us, too, because everything we do that is good, dem oppose us.”
“When I bring that bill to Parliament, we going to say, if you charge with a gun crime, no bail. No bail. Because so far this year, 143 Jamaicans have been murdered by men who are on bail for other charges. With the new law, no bail. We going to put it into law that if you are caught with a gun, there will be a mandatory minimum sentence that you know when you get convicted, no fine. You going to tan a prison fi 15-20 years,” he told supporters.
I encourage the administration to remove from the table those who purport to care about human rights.They offer zero solutions to the Island’s crime epidemic, neither do they offer any help to the victims of crime or those who survive their murdered loved ones.
We must begin to see these people as the self-serving vultures they are and dismiss them categorically from the discussion.
Human Rights and nationally security are not a mutually exclusive phenomenon, we can and must do both simultaneously, it is not a zero-sum game.
I continue to implore the Government to move on this plan, the change in rhetoric on INDECOM, the National Identification law, and the Bail Act are encouraging steps but only a full and comprehensive embrace of the strategies outlined here will bring the desired results.
(1) Shore up the ports of entry, effectively stopping the guns coming in illicitly and hold those gains.
(2) Tactically cordon the areas you want to search then go in with trained Dogs to find the weapons and arrest the murderers.
(3) Stagger where the security forces go at any given time, it should not be based solely on the area with the highest number of killings.
By doing so you minimize the likelihood that your next move can be anticipated.
(4) Remove from the Prime Minister the power to decide where the security forces go in the ZOSO.
It matters not that the PM supposedly acts on the advice of the Security Council.
This Act hyper politicizes policing and gives the next party to hold power the ability to engage in tit-for-tat using the security forces to carry out their nefarious bidding.
As long as security operations are green-lighted by politicians those operations stand to be politicized.
(5) Stop granting bail to accused murderers.
(6) Stop demagoguing the security forces.
Use the airwaves to educate the people about the benefits of adhering to the rule of law.
(7) Stop giving the nation the impression that effective hard-nosed policing which arrest criminals and places them in jail is antithetical to citizens human rights.
The greatest right a person has is the right to life. You have no right if you are dead, as such the country must place it focuses on removing from its midst the mindless killers and throw its support behind law enforcement.
(8) Stop corrupting public officials, report police, and other public officials who ask for bribes.
Do not offer to bribe public officials.
(9) Enact truth in sentencing for certain categories of violent crimes.
Mandatory 25 years to life for murder.
This is absolutely necessary since the nation’s leaders have decided to go against the wishes of the people and have declared a moratorium on hanging.
Twenty years minimum for any crimes committed using a firearm.
(10) Look at the US Rico statute, and draft a law which models that statute effectively prosecuting gangsters as does the Rico Statute does.
(11) Institute a mandatory National Identification program, law enforcement needs to be able to identify each and every Jamaican.
(12) Remove all political interference from law enforcement. What this administration is doing is even more political interference not less. Move the plethora of human rights advocates from the table where national security is being discussed.
(13) Repeal and replace the INDECOM Act.