Nothing gets my blood boiling like hearing police officers who are empowered to enforce the laws make statements regarding crime which amount to surrender.
The Spanish Town Bus park has long been a source of extortion according to citizens, bus operators, and police.
In fact, the Klans-man and One order Gangs have shed much blood for control of the park which has been a source of illicit cashflow for gangsters for many years.
Before we address this issue it is important that there be a recognition of this fact, criminals are always on the prowl for new and innovative ways to exploit weak spots in the apparatus of the nation’s security.
Thus far, as is evidenced by the wave of serious crime plaguing the country, gangsters are not having many problems in finding those breaches in the levy.
The Jamaican Police have a propensity for allowing small issues which could easily be stamped out to metastasize into cancerous tumors which eventually require major operations sometimes with disastrous consequences.
That is a failure of leadership, period.
The Problem of extortion in bus parks, Lotto-scamming, and truthfully the escalation of some major crimes could have been easily controlled if not eradicated, had the police acted with determination and dispatch in dealing with those problems.
Word on the street is that Police are always involved in crimes like the illicit Lotto-scamming which has mushroomed into an international crisis. In fact, in a recent batch of alleged scammers extradited to the United States, one police officer was among the suspects handed over to the Americans.
The problem however in instances as these is a failure on the part of the senior management tier of the force to gather intelligence on these occurrences in a timely manner and move decisively toward eradicating these cancerous crimes from the country.
Unfortunately for law-abiding Jamaicans, it appears that the last people to know whats really happening with crime are the people tasked with its eradication.
Such is the case with the problem of the extortion racket in the Spanish Town bus Park and the response of the Police commander Senior Superintendent Anthony Powell who has responsibility for St Catherine North Police Division.
According to citizens, bus operators are forced to pay a $5,000 to extortionists, in a racket which allows so-called [shotta busses] to jump the line, load and go.
It is alleged that the drivers of other buses, don’t escape the extortionists, as they are forced to pay $2,500 to use the park anyway.
According to local reporting, It is believed that bus driver Ervin McLeggan, who was murdered in the bus park last Tuesday, was on that “shotta bus” list but was removed after a meeting among the gangsters.
There are reports that bus operators do not report the extortion to the police and that because they do not report these incidents the police cannot act on it.
The larger issue it seems to me is that the police are inexcusably inept if they are not aware of the longstanding problem of extortion in the Spanish Town bus park.
The response coming from Senior Superintendent Anthony Powell is that citizens reasonable demand for a police post will not solve the problem.
He insists he is unaware of any shotta-bus list, that part is quite understandable as the police are always last to know whats going on.
Powell said a team had looked at the facility and had recommended the installation of closed-circuit television cameras and other measures. He also noted that a police post was in the park before, but it was “burnt down by criminals”. “The police don’t necessarily need a post there because they should be out there in the field,” Powell said, adding that the police were, in fact, in the park when gunmen attacked McLeggan on Tuesday morning. “Police are always present in the park, it is just that they were not situated to engage the triggerman, and he managed to escaped.”
What a bunch of bull-shit?
It is really quite simple to suggest (1) that criminals burnt the police post to the ground and as a result, one is not necessarily whats needed in light of a proliferation of crime at the facility is remarkable purely on the face of it.
That’s exactly why a police post should be placed there with cops who take no nonsense from anyone who is not supposed to be in the park.
On the other hand, closed circuit cameras are always a welcome addition to law enforcement efforts but they in no way absolve the police of their enforcement obligations.
Whats most regrettable about Powell’s statements are that there were officers in the park but they weren’t situated to engage the trigger man and so he escaped.
If killers can summarily take someone’s life in a situation where officers are present (regardless of where they are situated in the general vicinity) and escape, what chance does the nation have in this existential fight in which it is engaged?
SSP Anthony Powell and I entered the police training school together we graduated together, I applaud his service to our nation, however, I part company with his thinking on this issue. Said Powell, “The police don’t necessarily need a post there because they should be out there in the field.”
No SSP Powell, the Police need to be where crimes are being committed in the same way you place firemen to fight a fire where there is a fire, not just out there in the field.