One of the tools law enforcement uses to identify and confirm the criminal behavior of individuals is their criminal record.
It makes it easier to determine who committed what crime, it gives law enforcement a heads up on what they are dealing with- with criminal profiling and allows courts to make better decisions when dealing with repeat offenders.
The idea that Jamaica would be expunging the records of dangerous criminals when the world is moving in the direction of tightening the noose on their own criminals and criminal empires is a tragedy which will have devastating unforeseen consequences.
Just as consequential will be the diminishment of Jamaica’s credibility in the eyes of International partners, as it relates to the veracity of the background information on Jamaicans wishing to travel, work and live overseas.
More and more we are living in an interconnected world in which unitary standards are the rule rather than the exception.
For that reason, embarking on a systematic program of sanitizing the criminal records of thousands of criminals is destructively counterproductive.
Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck revealed to the nation’s parliament that more than 1,000 criminal records were expunged last year. In actuality, the number revealed was 1,027 for the single year 2017.
At a time when murders, rapes, shootings and other violent crimes continue to escalate in Jamaica, it is astounding that the Government would embark on a process which would make it exponentially more difficult for law enforcement and the courts to do their jobs.
Given where Jamaica is in its enforcement efforts, it is unconscionable and inexplicable that the administration would embark on this reckless path.
There is no justification for this process, any rewards which may be extrapolated clearly cannot justify the risks.
One of the benchmarks for the easy movement of people across international borders is individual country’s ability and integrity to determine the true background of their citizens. The same benchmark determines whether a state is characterized as a failed state or not when they are unable to credibly say who is who.
Fudging around with the records of criminals tells our international partners that when we say someone has a clean record we are saying that the government has tampered with the record of the individual which has nothing to do with the character of that individual. That is the path to becoming a failed state.
It would be interesting to hear the administration and more specifically the Minister of justice explain the benefits to the country in light of the foregone. I will not hold my breath for this explanation as it appears that Delroy Chuck is running a parallel government out of the justice ministry, which just happens to be dedicated to the empowerment of Jamaica’s criminal underworld.