Jamaicans were officially told that one of the more effective arm within the police department was effectively disbanded.
Kingfish was launched in 2004 under the former Government of the People’s National Party, after tremendous demands from a crime inundated public. At it’s launch Kingfish was heralded as a unit that would go after organized crime players. I argued after it’s launch that Kingfish would die the same death as other units which were successful in containing crime. Many who discuss crime and security in Jamaica, whether they live on the Island or not , do so from their own perceptions about the rule of law.The question of success as it relates to specialized units and their impact on crime will always be subjective.
I speak from the dual vantage point of an ordinary citizen but also from a position of having once being a part of one of those specialized units. That perch gives one a better idea of the comprehensive work that have been put in by these units and the successes reaped as a result of this work. As I have written in a soon to be published book, I am convinced that the values many of us hold dear, peace and tranquility in our communities, infrastructure which will enable the intrepunerial spirit of our people to soar, and legislation which would make each and every citizen feel he/she has a stake in our country, are not the values the country’s political leaders espouse.
So like the Operations Squad (Eradication) based at the old passport office on Spanish Town Road, The Ranger squad out of the Mobile Reserves,the Crime management Unit headed by Renato Adams, The Ocid squad and others we are now told that Operation Kingfish is gone. This has confirmed what I stated above, our leaders do not want to end crime they want the status quo.
The Jamaica Gleaner saw it this way.
The crux of the matter as it relates to Kingfish is that it worked in securing investigative integrity and professionalism in its pursuit of high-profile criminals.
High profile criminals such as Donald (Zekes) Phipps, local Matthews Lane punk and Joel Andem of the Gideon warriors gang are doing time as a result of the work Kingfish did, according to the report.
The Country’s national security minister Peter Bunting seem happy to say “I didn’t do it, it was someone else”. Bunting was so intent on putting distance between himself and the disbanding of Kingfish, he went on suggest that the unit may have been dismantled before his predecessor Dwight Nelson’s time as security minister. Well there you have it! If it works or was started by the other party they do not want it, as such it leads cynics like myself to argue and conclude that the reason it was disbanded was that the country’s political leaders want to retain the status quo. According to the report,Les Green, Assistant commissioner of police, and a British Transplant, is at a loss as to the reasons for the disbandment of the unit. Here’s what Green had to say:
“I don’t know why it got disbanded, but it has been quietly disbanded and no longer exists … . It was never announced or formulated as a closure.”
He argued that politics and jealousy played a part in the demise of Operation Kingfish, which was an intelligence-driven initiative, involving hand-picked members of the local police force working closely with their counterparts in the United Kingdom and the United States. Juxtaposing that with the stark realities of what’s happening this week, over 10 people were slaughtered over this week-end with 4 killed in August Town Saint Andrew alone. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Blood-runs-in-August-Town—4-year-old-boy-grazed-by-flying-bullets_11790969
Police in the community of August Town
The blood-letting is continuing, the police are no closer to ending gang violence and the wanton slaughter of the nation’s 2.7 million people than when the commissioner charged his divisional commanders to end them. The Government for its part have no clue and seem to be saying Kingfish was on its way out before it came on the scene. There is only one problem with the position taken by the Government, they are in government. Even if Kingfish was being phased out, as a policy of the previous government,the opposition would have known this if they understood the dangers of crime. They surely could have devised a crime policy which included the energizing or resuscitation of operation Kingfish. Inner city communities like August Town where these killings are happening would have been cleared of the very urban terrorists that the People’s National Party,gave breathing room to, when they did not vote to extend the limited state of public emergency.
The chickens have simply come home to roost, and both sides of the political divide have dirty hands. It’s interesting to hear the minister now offering platitudes to the families of the deceased. Will assurances from Bunting and Ellington bring back their loved ones? The answer is no, and as the community grieve it must come to the realization that the silence they engage in when crimes are being committed against their neighbors is the silence that is killing them. The Police in Jamaica are largely capable of arresting only for offences committed within their view,they are horrible at investigating, intelligence gathering and case preparation, so for all intents and purposes the murderers who killed those people in August Town over the week-end and the other 6 in the other parts of the country, may rest assured they will never be held accountable for their crimes. This is the new normal in Jamaica, as economic conditions worsens world-wide, small economies like ours should be looking to attract all kinds of investments, our country should be rolling out the red carpet to Jamaican nationals wishing to return home. Instead the government has once again reneged on its core responsibility which is to protect its citizens. Disbanding operation Kingfish has been only one step in the total abdication of that duty,and both political parties are responsible.