It is a universally agreed fact that crime thrives where it is allowed to.
As it is in well-run nations in which democracy is built on the rule of law, so too are totalitarian nations conversant that crime must be suppressed at all cost.
Unfortunately for our small Island Nation of Jamaica, that memo seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.
Crime affects nations in varying ways outside the obvious danger it poses to life, liberty, and property.
Crime impoverishes nations and destroys generations of people yet unborn.
The [Borgen Project] argues that Beyond the protected walls of the all-inclusive hotels, crime, violence, and poverty plague the populations of Caribbean nations. While tourism may be growing back to pre-recession levels in pockets of resorts, the majority of the population continues to battle with rising rape, murder and poverty levels.
In 2013 Professor Anthony Clayton of the University of the West Indies, in a report prepared for the Ministry of National Security, called A New Approach: National Security Policy for Jamaica said, for example, that the direct medical cost of injuries due to interpersonal violence accounted for nearly 12% of Jamaica’s total health expenditure in 2006, while productivity losses due to interpersonal violence-related injuries accounted for approximately 4% of Jamaica’s GDP. If the latter is added to the estimate of security costs by Francis et al, then the combined total is 7.1% of Jamaica’s GDP.”
It is important to consider that serious crime has continued to rise each year since that report and has done so for decades. Which means that each year crime continues to take a larger chunk of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) with no clear end in sight.
There is more data available which shows in real dollars and cents just how crime is driving Jamaicans deeper and deeper into poverty year over year.
Over the last several decades’ various studies have been done which have all seem to conclude that crime and violence in the Caribbean and in Jamaica, in particular, may be attributed to poverty.
Of course, it is easy to settle on poverty if you want to be intellectually dishonest or just plain lazy.
There is no denying that if a person is hungry and has no money he or she goes into survival mode and is likely to steal to survive.
On the other hand, if you look at the real drivers of crime, a-la greed, gangs, drugs, deportations coupled with the nations refusal to put a foot on the neck of criminals you begin to get a clearer picture of why Jamaica has continued to have a pervasive and growing crime problem.
There are foreign publications which have naively written at length about Government’s attempt to arrest crime without an attendant deeper understanding of the role politicians and politics play in creating and exacerbating serious crime proliferation on the Island.
Those of us who came out of the trenches and have a deeper understanding of how the Island inner cities and towns work, we are quite confident when we say “no, poverty is absolutely not responsible for the massive escalation of shootings, sexual assaults, and murders sweeping the Island”.
Additionally, there are many nations with far lower standards of living which does not have Jamaica’s astronomic crime problem.
It has been said that Jamaicans have a violent predisposition.
I am not in a position to litigate that, what I do believe is that any people any place who are allowed to be violent to each other, with at worse, a slap on the wrist, may very well continue to use violence as a conflict resolution mechanism.
Unfortunately, there is a regrettable mindset in the country among the most influential that despite the seriousness of the crimes committed, the offenders should be given a slap on the wrist as punishment for their actions.
That perception supports my position that serious crimes in Jamaica and a lack of a serious punitive component, has precious little to do with poverty and everything to do with rich and powerful people wanting to stay out of prison for their own crimes.
This writer has consistently articulated a cohesive and cogent path forward to deal with this monster plaguing the nation.
Among my suggestions are the need to pass tougher laws, better train equip and pay police officers, build more courthouse and hire more judges from the prosecution’s side of the fence and hire more prosecutors as well.
Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Paula Llewelyn recently voiced frustration at the growing caseload her office is forced to handle with a staff which is not growing to meet the demands.
Llewelyn argues that her plea for more prosecutors have effectively fallen on deaf ears.
She revealed that she wrote to the Public Service Establishment Division of the Ministry of Finance pleading for six temporary posts to be approved, as her office was told that the ministry was awaiting the completion of a general organisational review before her request for additional staff could be granted. However, to date, she has not been given the courtesy of a response.(jamaicaobserver.com)
As cases continue to pile up at the DPP’s office, there are those who continue to scapegoat the police about not doing enough to curtail crime.
So my question to those who make those scurrilous and malicious statements is this, have you asked Government, past or present why they have refused to build courthouses, improve the bail act, better train and pay police officers among the things needed to be done?
The police are arresting murderers at a merry clip but their efforts are being thwarted by liberal judges with their own agendas.
Judges continue to use the criminal justice system as a revolving door, resulting in more homicides as a consequence.
While criminals are being let loose on the society and cases cannot get to trial because of the shortages frustrating the chief prosecutor, the Island’s minister of justice is lobbying for murder cases over five years to be purged from the court dockets.
When you consider the forgone a better picture comes into focus on where they are taking the country.
This is not about party politics it is about facts and figures, neither party has clean hands.
Neither party has demonstrated a willingness to point the country in the right direction so that the hard work of taking back the country can begin.
It must be understood that despite everything been done at the moment if the policies being employed are not commensurate with an appropriate resolution of the crime issue it is all for nought.
The policies being employed cannot resolve the Island’s crippling crime problem so you may form your own conclusions.
The strategies needed to begin the southward trend in serious crime once undertaken will leave no doubt in the minds of those who would engage in and or offer support and succour to criminals that this is different.
Nothing past or present has occurred which would convince them that there is a seriousness by Government to put the brakes on their activities.
The right strategies will inexorably and categorically be clear to all that Jamaica has finally decided to do something about this problem.
Thus far we have seen nothing which would suggest that there is even a recognition much less a declared will to seriously tackle the problem.
On that basis, crime will continue to increase, more innocent people will, unfortunately, become victims in the process.
In order to begin the process, the government must stand up so that those who would commit crimes may stand down.
That will only be accomplished when the policy is actually made in consultation with real Jamaicans and not with foreign-funded entities with their own agendas antithetical to Jamaica’s interests.
The average Jamaican who play by the rules is being sacrificed for the good of those who have killed time and again.
The human rights of the guilty supersedes that of his victim.
Unless we dispense with those who prostitute human rights as a means to make a name for themselves crime will continue to escalate.