Hugh Lawson Shearer
Hugh Lawson Shearer

After the People’s National Party was returned to power in Jamaica on the 29th of December, crime started to trend upward. Jamaica generally record approximately 1600 homicides annually which places her near to the very top of the most murderous country on earth on a per capita basis. With her population of approximately 2.7 million people and land mass of roughly 4’411 square miles, the likelihood on getting slaughtered cannot be far from anyone’s mind. The slaughter of another Jamaican is never far away geographically. That includes those who wield political power, of course the stark realities of that wanton slaughter are not of much concern to them. Of course not all Jamaicans have large police security detail at the expense of  poor exposed and vulnerable taxpayers

There are conflicting explanations for the reasons crime trends upward under Governments formed by the People’s National Party(PNP) as against the conditions which obtain under Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) administrations. Like everything else in Jamaica this issue is viewed under polarized lens. Most Jamaicans are completely unable to see things in an objective way, incapable of accepting facts even when they are borne out with data, as long as it runs counter to their philosophical and political beliefs. Many would rather die in ignorance than live with the truth.

This is the extent of the polarization of Jamaican politics, to a large extent there is very little middle which would allow for objectivity, free of political taint. PNP supporters and sympathizers will argue that the escalation of crime under their leadership is attributable largely to people from the other party destabilizing the government by committing heinous crimes. It never mattered to those making that argument that there were never one shred of data in support of those claims. In essence they were simply criminal activity which were not committed by any specific group, or individual, and were not confined to any geographical area which would bear out those claims. Conversely JLP supporters and sympathizers will argue that people feel free to do as they choose under PNP leadership , as that party is lax and do not make crime and criminality a priority.

Let’s examine the facts, prior to Manley assuming office in the 70’s crime was not a serious problem in Jamaica, comparatively speaking. Under the leadership of Hugh Lawson Shearer the country’s security forces had a leader who supported the rule of law and those who enforced the laws. Everyone was cognizant of those realities, the prime Minister made it known he was not going to allow it.

The country was recording its greatest period of growth and development, which by all statistical analysis makes Hugh Lawson Shearer Jamaica’s most effective Prime Minister. Then came democratic socialism,  the greatest period of social engineering in the country’s history. In 1972 Michael Manley swept to power on what would be the formal beginning of a populist message of “better must come”.