There are many things which need improving in Jamaica, the stubborn refusal of the two political parties to deal collaboratively and decisively toward ending violent crimes being chief among them.
On the other hand, there are things which are going right, for the very first time, to the best of my recollection a budget was passed without any new taxes announced to finance it.
The latest growth of 1.1 percent in the economy is a step in the right direction, though the growth rate was better in 2015, culminating in a spike in 2016 in which there was 2.1 percent growth rate.
The People’s National Party have maintained that the path the country is on was a function of the steps it had taken to stabilize the economy.
In actuality, after an unprecedented 14 1⁄2 years in office, the PNP had all but wrecked the economy and brought the country to its financial knees.
The anemic growth rates which emanated out of the IMF’s restructuring plan given to the Portia Simpson Miller government did in fact set the country on the right and sustainable path to recovery. It just isn’t enough for the PNP to crow about its part in this fragile recovery when it had the luxury of freezing public sector wages for years, applying massive tax increases and making cuts in services as hallmarks of its tenure.
It is a bit rich to set fire to a man’s house and then demand recognition for calling the fire department.
After Percival Patterson took over the reins of government crime skyrocketed out of control. Rather than take steps to improve law enforcement capabilities, Patterson watched crime skyrocket while the police department deteriorated into an ineffectual department which lacked the most basic investigative capabilities.
Patterson demanded that police officers return to wearing uniforms effectively making the JCF a purely reactive force which could only respond effectively to crimes committed in the view of officers.
To add insult to injury Patterson did not make any money available to train a single detective for a full decade. The result of those policies is still being reflected in the crime statistics today.
During that same period, there was no clear indication that there was any will or intention to curb the nation’s burgeoning crime wave. Even worse there was no crime plan to be implemented.
It was during that period of time that KD Knight was the Minister of National Security & Justice.
It is with the forgone in mind that I find KD Knight’s threat to “rouse up” Jamaicans if the Andrew Holness-led Government does not present a comprehensive crime plan to the country by April galling and cheeky.
KD Knight is a great lawyer, a lawyer I would seek out if I needed legal representation in a court of law, nevertheless, Knight had his turn at the tiller and he was no different than others who had preceded him, neither was he better than any who succeeded him.
There is no need for any more crime plans, what is needed is a comprehensive realignment across the legal, political and civic spectrums. A realignment of understanding that the present approaches to crime are not working because they favor those who break our laws.
Crime plans do not change the trajectory of crime, resolute actions do.
There is a stubborn mindset across the society that we can transform violent criminals into productive members of society.
The reality of that mindset is that we cannot change people who do not want to be changed. For years I have personally written that we cannot beg people not to commit crimes, we have to make it so that they are dissuaded from committing crimes.
The nation’s laws and general mindset are as such that in many instances it literally pays to be engaged in criminal conduct.
Listen to the audio clip below.
It is imperative that there is bipartisan consensus on crime, a way forward which empowers law enforcement while holding them accountable. There is a fix available which requires setting parochial politics and populism aside for the greater good of our country.
That greater good is not enhanced by posturing, making threats, or showing off.
KD Knight is an intellectual, there is no denying that, and so we must conclude that the reason he makes these threats of disruption is purely political.
Knight must know what needs to be done, it is not that difficult to understand that in order to fix crime there are laws and law enforcement which are geared toward crime eradication.
KD Knight has led an accomplished life of achievements, it is time for him to think about his legacy, about what kind of country he would like to leave when he is gone.
It is time he puts politics aside and uses his influence to carve out bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems.
Threats and grandstanding are so 1970’s, it is beneath our country’s dignity, I would like to think it is beneath the dignity of KD Knight as well.