Speaking at a news conference following the closure of the 38th meeting of Heads of Governments in Grenada on Thursday night, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that he had requested of heads of CARICOM states that the issue of crime and violence be placed on the agenda for discussion.
Holness told reporters gathered after the meeting that while crime and violence had not been a matter on the agenda for this summit, he had taken the opportunity to raise the matter at that meeting.
“I raised the issue from the perspective of not just a security issue but from a macro-social perspective that the use of violence as a means of resolving conflict, as a means of social control, as part of our social transactions that it is becoming almost a feature of our societies.”
The Prime Minister’s statements may be viewed in two or more lights depending on where you stand.
(1) The Prime Minister is correct this is a regional issue in which the broader CARICOM community has a stake and must take action.
(2) This is a cry for help from the Jamaican Prime Minister.
THE CASE FOR CARICOM’s POSSIBLE INVOLVEMENT
Of course, crime is a regional issue best tackled with all hands on deck. There are guns coming into Jamaica from Haiti. There are drugs coming through Haiti, into Jamaica from Colombia as far as the reporting goes.
Jamaican farmers are experiencing a significant loss of livestock as Jamaican gangs are stealing and slaughtering their livestock and taking the carcasses to Haiti to exchange for guns and ammunition.
Trinidad and to some extent Guyana have had issues with terrorism some exported from South America and in Trinidad’s case Islamic fundamentalism.
All of these factors dictate that the region must come together in the fight against crime as it has for other reasons
The issues of regional criminality and terrorism are best tackled from a regional perspective, while each state institute their own systems of dealing with their criminals as they see fit.
Only through collaborative effort and best practices will this monster be brought under control.
No member state is sufficiently rich, to combat on its own the growing list of crimes affecting member states. Together CARICOM can have a significant effect in reducing crime in the region.
Criminals should have no safe zones in the region, with countries like the US, Canada, and Britain clamping down on who enter their countries, regional cooperation on this issue would go a long way in controlling this problem.
A CRY FOR HELP?
There is nothing wrong with asking for help if a problem seems too large to tackle alone.
After decades of political interference, arming criminals, shackling law-enforcement, INDECOM, erecting and institutionalizing other barriers to the rule of law, a Jamaican Prime Minister is by default acknowledging that the problem they created is bigger than their control.
Nevertheless, despite the past regional cooperation on crime is imperative as it is on economic and other issues.
The Caribbean community must come together on all relevant issues or face the bleak consequences.
All hands are required on deck to deal with the burgeoning issue of crime and terror not just in Jamaica, but across the region, on Trinidad and Tobago and yes even Barbados.
Member states can take a hands off approach (hi Barbados) and pretend that they are an Island, [sic] well they are indeed an Island, but not even Island’s can stand alone anymore.
The problems facing us are global issues which if not attacked comprehensively will have catastrophic consequences for our country and the region.
Even as the Jamaican PM speak about crime on the regional stage, I would have preferred to see a different point person other than Delroy Chuck speak on the local stage about the implementation of the of the yet to become law special zones Act.
If our country is to climb out of this hell-hole it is in, Delroy Chuck, an anti-police, criminal apologist is certainly not the person to be running point on this.
I have absolutely no confidence that Delroy Chuck has the character or the know how much less the desire to see Jamaica’s garrisons become a thing of the past.
Delroy Chuck attended the funeral of a know criminal gangster and as such he has zero credibility or character to talk about the implementation of anti-crime measures.
As long as Chuck is out front talking about this new law, or have anything ng to do with national security and justice on the Island I will be a skeptic.