In order to understand the level of lawlessness and the astronomical murder statistics gripping the Island of Jamaica, it’s important that you understand the critical role varying Government Agencies have been playing in enhancing this tragic process.
Let’s examine the murder of fashion designer Dexter Pottinger.
Please follow me on this sequence of events which led to the death of Pottinger.
According to published reports, the accused killer of Pottinger is Tatoo and makeup artist Romario Brown of Rocky Valley, Stony Hill in St Andrew.
On July 31, Brown was granted bail in the Home Circuit Court on a charge of murder, after he was arrested following the death of Alexia Bepatt on April 8, 2016.
Less than a month later on August 29 after he was granted bail for the murder Brown was once again arrested for being in possession of a dangerous weapon.
Brown was this time granted station bail in the sum of J10,000. He was scheduled to appear in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on September 19 for that offense.
The Police argue they were not aware that he was out on bail for that murder when he was granted bail for possession of an offensive weapon.
The Police need not be defensive about granting him station bail for the offensive weapon.
The Police have that right and responsibility to grant bail for offenses of that nature.
The police, in this case, are also victims of not having computer systems with data which would tell them that the arrestee is a murder accused out on bail.
They too are victims because the liberal activists who sit as judges continue to turn the murderers loose as soon as they arrest them.
In all of this, there are crickets.
The silence is deafening, no one is talking about the fact that the justice system which has been failing Jamaicans for decades failed Dexter Pottinger and it cost him his life.
Sure Pottinger may have posted bail for Brown but if a judge did not take it onto himself to set free a man who already killed a woman Pottinger would be alive today.
For years I have waged a personal crusade on these very pages against these very dangerous practices.
In some cases, men who kill have been granted bail up to five separate times, before facing the courts on the first charge of murder.
In what reality is that acceptable, that a murder accused would be granted bail kills again is arrested immediately granted bail, goes out and kill is arrested granted bail, goes out and kill is granted bail, goes out and kill granted bail. Then tired of not being held accountable he simply hops on a flight and leaves the country.
In June of 2016, National Security Minister Robert Montague spoke to this. Said the Minister ….
“There is an instance where one man was arrested for murder, offered bail, came out, murdered again, this time two times, apprehended, offered bail, came out, murdered again, apprehended, offered bail, took the bail, came out, murdered again, was apprehended, offered bail. His mother was actively seeking bail and the community said ‘don’t bail him’. She insisted and she was killed, and the offer of bail is still on the table”.
In other words, the activist judges are steadfastly going to interpret the bail act in the narrow way they want to advance their own agendas.
They continue to make the arguments that the issue of bail ought not to be punishment.
Great point if you are dealing with white collar crimes or a man who stole some ackee from Mister Brown’s tree.
The Bail Act specifically says that bail can be denied based on the seriousness of the crime alleged.
Bail may also be denied if the accused may abscond (meaning the person takes flight and does not show up for trial.
That determination is arrived at based on what occurred after the accused committed the offense.
In many cases, judges have cast aside this particular specification and have ordered accused persons to surrender travel documents to police.
The problem in Jamaica is there is no national data base which properly identifies each person.
As a consequence, after committing murders and summarily granted bail they simply pull out a different passport, boards a flight and is gone.
But the most fundamental point the bail act makes for not granting bail to accused murderers is that the accused may interfere/kill potential witnesses against him.
Nowhere in the world is this more critical than Jamaica. And it’s all made possible because the judges take it onto themselves to decide that no matter how heinous the murder the accused commits they are going to grant bail.
The next time you are about to criticize the police for not doing enough about crime take a look at these statistics and recognize where the problem lies.
Just ask Dexter Pottinger how he feels about the Judge who granted bail to his killer after he was charged with murder.
In fact, ask the hundreds and hundreds of other Jamaicans who have suffered Pottinger’s fate because some judge decides to be an overlord rather than obey the law.
We need adequate changes to the bail act as a matter of urgency. We need truth in sentencing now as well.