We had two choices to deal with the ever emerging reign of terror in Jamaica for years and we made our choice.
(1) We could stop political meddling in law enforcement. Take seriously the rule of law by (a) Modernizing the police department. (b) Establishing the rule of law as the governing philosophy as the bedrock on which our parliamentary democracy is built. (c) Disentangling the two political parties from crime, corruption and criminal conduct and affiliations and (d) Begin the meticulous process of upgrading and improving the criminal justice system.
(2) We could do the reverse of (1) by (a) Demonize the rule of law and its agents. (b) Allow the police department to disintegrate through attrition, lack of support, chasing crime fighters from the force, directly and indirectly, recruiting into the department and promoting people with no love and dedication to the job. (c) Continue political affiliations, support, and shielding of criminals. (d) Allow the justice system to crumble to the point the average person has no faith in it and as a result take matters into their own hands.
Faced with the two choices Jamaica chose the latter.
As a child I was an avid reader, I would read everything in sight. I had an insatiable appetite for books, the knowledge I derived from them was an accelerant which further drove me to read even more.
My journey, through those pages, made me realize that to a large extent our people were not exactly keen on obeying rules.
I gleaned that there was a sub-culture which not so secretly reveled in the exploits of the most deranged killers in our country.
From Three finger Jack, Rigen, Coppa, Natty Morgan and the list of other mass murderers, these infamous cancers on our nation’s psyche became icons of our popular culture.
In places considered normal, the memory of these men would be reviled and shunned, not in Jamaica.
In a sick and demented Orwellian way a certain segment of the people cheered the exploits of the murderers even as they ply their morbid trade and evade the rule of law.
Today the conditions which bred those cancers have multiplied and are amplified creating exponentially more of the same degenerates.
Sadly as the number of murdering degenerates grows so too has the support for them and their cause.
We never had a real discussion on how we were going to deal with the vilest killers our country produced.
We simply swept crime under the carpet. On other occasions we say there is crime everywhere. Pressed even further with the starkness of the killings we get into a defensive posture, like Porcupines we roll into balls, spikes protruding outward ready to spike anyone who dares to speak out against Jamaica’s crime culture.
With a twisted inane logic which makes sense only to us, we pretend speaking out is tantamount to a lack of patriotism.
We never discussed or worked out the consequences, not hanging murderers would have on our fledgling democracy and ultra-violent killers.
We simply marched to Britain’s drumbeat, even though we did not have their infrastructure or desire to lock up for life these demented killers.
Rather than send them to prison for life where they belong we opted instead for a liberal perspective from the Island’s institutions of higher learning which argues for redirection for criminals over serious punitive remedies which has both components.
As a consequence, we end up with a liberal ineffectual system which provides no deterrent effect on crime and a hardened criminal underworld undeterred by the prospect of being held accountable.
We never quite discussed the consequences to the country of moving away from hard nosed policing which though not a total panacea kept murders to under five hundred each year for a long time.
We simply acquiesced to a misguided egalitarian concept that if we provide everyone with jobs crime would be a thing of the past.
This silly notion ignores the fact that in general, the puppeteers behind the puppets who pull the triggers are indeed wealthy well to do people with more than average financial resources.
There was no national dialogue when INDECOM was created on the dampening effect it would have on actual real policing (not the showboating which exist today).
Sure the police needed to be held accountable.
Sure perception is important in the way citizens view the handling of police abuse complaints.
But was it necessary to create a state funded adversary to the police?
Did it make sense to send home real crime fighters while merging the JCF and ISCF without retraining members of the ISCF or weeding out those who could not qualify?
Was it good policy to create a top heavy high command with little or no real command and control experience and in many cases with people who have no knowledge of crime fighting?
I believe we all know the answers to these questions.
Over and above the obstinacy of our misguided direction we refuse to send prisoners to prisons for the most heinous crimes.
Instead of sending a clear message when we do convict them, violent murderers are being given 7 and 10-year sentences.
Since we do not send them to the gallows why would we not send them to prison for life?
The sick perverted egalitarian policies which fail to recognize that not all people are equal, that some people will kill no matter the society in which they live, has done a tremendous disservice to the Island’s crime fighting efforts.
Neither Obeah nor divine intervention, neither tears nor bravado will bend the arc of crime in Jamaica.
What is required is a meticulous well thought out policy which ensures that criminals get the message that the rule of law is the governing principle, not gangsters.