If you believe that either of the two political parties is going to do anything about the serious crime problem in our country you are wrong.
The fact is that despite a show of bi-partisan kumbaya between the two parties, neither of the two parties or their leadership, individually, or combined, will do a damn thing toward deconstructing the literal and ideological garrisons which have pitted Jamaicans against Jamaicans from as early as the early 1960s.
As far as the People’s National Party is concerned the party’s very existence is contingent on the continuation of zones of political exclusions.
For readers who are not steeped in the nuances of the Jamaican culture, zones of political exclusions are referred to colloquially, and locally as [garrisons].
The term [Garrison] is defined as; “a place where troops are stationed in a fortress or town to defend it”.
In Jamaica’s case, they are political constituencies, held by one party or the other, not manned by official soldiers of the state, but defended by gunmen loyal to the party which holds that political constituency.
Votes are delivered en-bloc to the member of parliament, but are not necessarily reflectively of the wishes of the people who live in those geographical areas.
Fear of death is the general reason people vote the way they do in those areas.
Over the decades’ political handouts and other goodies have solidified the political opinions in the zones of exclusions, making the views of those who live in them virtually and truly politically homogonous.
The PNP has more than twice the number of garrisons as the ruling JLP.
As such, the PNP is less likely to want to deconstruct a system that benefits the party politically.
The continuation and expansion of the garrisons in the nation’s politics erode the very foundation of our democratic society.
Additionally, the PNP has always benefitted from the lack of education or miseducation of the poorest Jamaicans, many of whom live.….…in the zones of exclusion.
When people are not allowed to think for themselves, they are told how to vote, in exchange for a few handouts, they cannot become who they were destined to be. Garrisons diminish people, but those who control the garrisons are not about to give up the power they have over those people who are enthralled by them with cult-like loyalty.
The JLP also has its share of garrisons, the infamous Tivoli gardens is a JLP stronghold. It has been characterized as the mother of all garrisons. It has been one of the Achilles heels of the Jamaica Labor Party, which began as the law and order party.
Somewhere along the road, the JLP decided that it had to match the PNP which had sold itself as the party of the little man. That populist mantra did not match the history of the PNP which began with elitists founders like Norman Manley the foreign-educated Barrister.
The party of Alexander Bustamante the blue-collar guy, found itself being described as the party of the rich elites.
That label stuck to the JLP throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s and even to the present day.
The JLP as a political party in the reality of today, is not immune to the temptations of political power. Like the PNP it has allowed itself to buckle to temptation and has fallen victim to corruption.
Party leaders from Edward Seaga to Bruce Golding, did not do nearly enough to disassociate themselves from the worst actors within the criminal underworld.
Andrew Holness, the present Prime Minister, is a personal beneficiary of a garrison constituency. He arrived in Jamaica House a student of the old guard. That old guard must be deferential to the forces within the communities which place politicians in power. Those forces are never aligned with the rule of law.
Additionally, Holness schooling which further shapes his world view, was straight out of the leftist University of the West Indies, not known for its support for the rule of law either.
Andrew Holness, is a product of the old politics, and though he would like to portray himself as a new kind of leader, he is no different than others before him who berated and disrespected law enforcement and by extension, the rule of law.
It isn’t that Andrew Holness wants a country infested with dangerous criminals. I have never spoken to him, but from his actions on other fronts, it is clear that the Prime Minister wants to accomplish great things for the Jamaican people. The questions are not about the PM’s intentions, they are about his ideas on how to accomplish his goals.
Hyper-partisans are quick to disregard or seek to discredit anyone who seeks to shine a light on those they hold in high regard. That is okay with this writer. Understand that we all need heroes. It is important to appreciate that no one person has all of the answers and the Prime Minister like everyone else, should acquaint himself with those realities.
It is not enough just to have other people with ideas, it is important to find enough qualified people with divergent views on the same subject.
Tragically for the rule of law and law-abiding citizens of Jamaica, the country is stuck in a bi-polar state of the black dog and the black monkey.
Neither party’s leadership has demonstrated that they understand the complexities of the present dilemma, much less the willingness to change them.
Absent that consensus, we end up as we are today, in a stalemate in which both political Party’s leadership are jockeying for position in the race to the bottom. No political leader wants to make bold statements on crime.
Apart from their own personal and financial interests in the culture of crime, they dare not speak out,-out of fear of the media, the criminals in their constituencies, as well as the criminal supporting groups which have infested our country.
As a consequence, the country is immersed in a never-ending cycle of violence and death, because neither political party has the cajones to step on the serpent.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, a business owner, avid researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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