Yesterday I wrote about the failure of the Jamaican Prime Minister mister Andrew Holness on the issue of crime.
In the article, I went to great pains to outline that (a) I supported Holness’ candidacy and (b) gave the Prime Minister credit for his handling of the economy thus far.
I did not make mention of the Infrastructure developments being carried out across the Island, as [some] of those projects were in the pipeline before he took office and speaking to those would mean I would have to spend valuable time giving credit to the previous administration on an issue I believe cancels itself out politically.
I did not feel I was compelled to say I supported Holness’ candidacy, but I felt that in the interest of fairness I had to give credit to the Prime Minister were and if credit was warranted.
I nevertheless credited the PM for the good that was obvious from my vantage point while speaking to the bad from the same perch.
Having done so, I hoped that the quality of the discourse on the important topic of the nations crime epidemic would have been elevated over and above the traditional parochial (kas-kas).
I hoped that since we pride ourselves in our ability to critical-think, we would be able to begin a substantive conversation on this most pressing issue with a view to at least recognizing that the path we are presently on will not solve the present dilemma.
Unfortunately, it seems to me that the balkanization of our politics after 1962 to the present day has moved from imaginary geographical lines of demarcation to mental and psychological lines.
The hardening of our political views has become a hindrance to our growth and development. It has so infested our psyches, that even though we are no longer murdering our brothers of another political persuasion, we are unable to engage in substantive reasoning because of the confining walls of political allegiances.
When the response by Labourites to the crime epidemic is ‘crime did not begin three years ago( alluding to when Holness took office), you can no longer claim credibility on the topic, as you have demonstrated that you are unable to see through your political blinkers.
That kind of thinking allows for the next party to make the same arguments when it becomes their turn to lead once again.
Putting this existential issue on the table does not mean solving it today. Crime did not become an issue in Jamaica at the time Holness took office.
What the nation voted for was a different approach and that is not happening. So the bird-brained idea that pointing out where we are going wrong is somehow political, exposes the level of individual ignorance in that perception, and the degree to which the corrosive influence of politics has clouded our ability to think.
Over the years I have presented a raft of proposals which are to be found on this very medium. The fact that Jamaican authorities, of both political parties, have failed to adopt tried-and-proven methods, opting instead for crime-fighting techniques developed by baby doctors and police haters is their own fault.
The fact that successive administrations of both political parties lack the testicular fortitude to exact the pound of flesh necessary from criminals, thereby sending a clear and unequivocal message that their actions will not be tolerated is not my fault.
The idea that a call to arms ends up becoming an inquisition into my personal bona fides tells the damning truths that maybe many of us are not as remotely smart as we would like to portray.
When we fail to see the killing of babies, and little girls as a bridge too far, we are by default giving license to the killers to push the envelope even further.
When we quibble and squabble among ourselves about who started what and who presided over what, we basically give criminals the room they need to continue the mayhem they sow in our societies.
My characterization of the Jamaican PM yesterday has not changed today. Our country needs leadership on crime. Leadership that mobilizes and galvanizes the people into a common cause. A cause which is greater than themselves. A cause which educates them on the way crime reduces their quality of life until it eventually takes it away from them.
We need leadership which empowers its police to go get the criminals, while ensuring that those officers who overstep their authority are held to the strictest standards of accountability.
Then and only then will we begin to see a reduction, not just in the statistical number of violent and other crimes but in the brazenness and the proclivity to commit those crimes.
It is difficult to get Jamaicans to mobilize against a monster so large and entrenched. Our country is inherently corrupt, most detractors of tough anti-crime measures are direct beneficiaries of criminal conduct.
It is to those same people/voters that the two political parties pander. It is that which informs the decisions on this epidemic.
Harriet Tubman famously said quote” I freed a thousand slaves, and I could have freed a thousand more, if only they knew they were slaves”.