In a new year’s speech which gives us a window into his soul and a view of his thinking, Prime Minister Andrew Holness had much to say about the dangerous spate of killings in Jamaica.
Holness made the following comments while addressing the congregation at the 13th annual ‘Heal the Family Heals the Nation’ gathering at the National Arena staged by the Power of Faith Ministries.
Said the Prime Minister.
[“Leaders you have to bring it to your pulpit. We can’t allow much of what is happening to be covered up, particularly the abuse that is happening within families. We must preach out against the fathers who are molesting their daughters. And it is happening in our midst. Some mothers remain quiet – don’t say anything about it: that daughter grows up with a lot of anger in her. She has children and she takes it out on her children and all that those children will know, is violence. If you see something like that, it is not right. It cannot be accepted practice in our culture. We must expose it and preach against it.”]
[ “The church has an amazing capacity for counseling and outreach, use it. That is one practical way in which we can start to address the issue of violence”. “We talk about crime but we don’t talk enough about violence. It is the violence that drives the crime: it is the violence that makes the crime brutal and savage, we have to address this issue of violence which is becoming part of our culture, a part of our social transaction“…]
NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS STATEMENTS REALLY, EXCEPT…
There is nothing wrong with the text or tenor of the Prime Minister’s statements really. Except that what is missing, is a fundamental understanding by the Prime Minister of what the nation is dealing with and more so what will be required to fix it.
Firstly and before we get into the practical mechanics of whats happening in Jamaica and what fixes will be effective, let us get something really straight.
God Almighty will not fix our problems for us, he has already strengthened us to do for ourselves. Through his pre-set principles,we decide outcomes based on our own actions.
Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
That include putting men on the moon, placing satellites into orbit, massive advances in science and technology as well as in Engineering.
We are not going to win wars by kneeling and praying, we win wars by training and supporting our armies, knowing our enemies, and ensuring that we do not underestimate them.
God is not a magician sitting atop the clouds waving a wand one way or the other based on how we respond to him.
A man who goes to the hospital with a tumor in his left lung had his right lung removed is in serious trouble.
Not because the problem was misdiagnosed but because the medical staff who had the responsibility to apply due care by making sure that the correct procedures and protocols are followed fell down on the job.
Mister Prime Minister, well over 1600 Jamaicans was murdered in 2017. Compare that to Chicago Illinois, one of America’s most violent cities, which had 675 homicides and roughly the same population as Jamaica.
There are Jamaicans who are giving you the impression that this is merely crime.
I assure you it isn’t, I can also tell you, yes there is crime everywhere but your murder numbers are not mere crime numbers.
The country is at war.
The homicide numbers in Jamaica far exceeds that of Great Britain, Jamaica’s patron, which recorded 723 murders in 2017 and 524 in 2016. [www.statista.com] Britain has a population of 65.64 million as compared to Jamaica’s 2.7 million.
We can poll nations around the world with larger and smaller populations than Jamaica’s and we would be hard-pressed to find a nation with the per capita murder statistics of Jamaica.
A good place to start is with Cuba 90 miles off our shores, which has a population of approximately 12 million people roughly four times that of Jamaica which has 2.7 million people.
They have a standard of living which is significantly lower than that of Jamaican [thanks to over 50 years of American blockade] yet their homicide numbers are far less onerous, where available..
According to https://www.osac.gov.
While there are no reliable crime statistics from the government, the U.S. Embassy continues to receive several reports per month of non-violent crimes against tourists. These numbers are increasing slightly and are consistent with reporting from other diplomatic missions. Most crime can be associated with pickpocketing, purse snatching, fraud schemes, and thefts from unoccupied cars, hotel rooms, and dwellings. American travelers are generally perceived to be wealthy. Most offenses take place in areas frequented by foreigners.
Although most tourist hotels are relatively safe in Havana, pickpockets, prostitutes, and other criminals may congregate there. Cuba has an active commercial sex trade.
We could go on and on but you get the picture. Our closest neighbor geographically, hardly has a homicide problem. The crimes reported by this America Agency [hardly a friend of Cuba] makes mention of non-violent crimes, the kind which may appropriately be assigned to poverty.
Mister Prime Minister here is the problem in our country and I daresay you are a significant part of that problem, if not culpably, culturally.
You have taken the position that crime can be approached using platitudes, begging, beseeching, praying, and a soft hand.
You and those who advise you are wrong. The fact that you and I daresay the criminally complicit political opposition have mortgaged out the nation’s security to Criminal supporting groups, is entirely why you are unable to properly deal with the problem.
You cannot fix what you have decidedly and willfully refused to properly diagnose.
What is going on in Jamaica will not be remedied with community policing. We have long passed that stage, that is not to say that community based policing cannot operate side by side with a more militaristic approach to the problem.
You simply have to stop listening to the pretentious know-it-alls who dominate the public airwaves and the national dialogue.
As I have said repeatedly in previous articles, human rights and hard no-nonsense policing are not opposed to each other. The opposition party and your acolytes of the clergy and those in the media and criminal rights fraternity are quick to make the link that if police go after dangerous criminals they, by virtue of that fact alone are predisposed to abusing the rights of citizens.
Simply put it is bull-shit.
Young men who have engaged in the power rush they seem to get from taking innocent lives are not about to give up those weapons and return to irrelevance.
They are not going to go back to being nobody when the Prime Minister and other leaders are in church begging God for help from them.
They will not give up their weapons when politicians are meeting with them, essentially raising their profile and importance.
The shining path in Peru, the ELN , and FARC in Colombia did not give up their weapons, neither have the cartels in Mexico done so.
Those weapons will have to be taken from their lifeless fingers.
Jamaicans can pretend all they want that what is happening in our country is different. We have seen what it really meant in 2010.
Shamefully, rather than laud the security forces the nation through its political leaders on both sides of the aisle created a kangaroo court to condemn the security forces for saving Jamaica.
Paying Tivoli residents and apologizing to that community cemented the fact that there is precious little difference between the two political parties.
The two parties are basically the white collar segment of the criminal gangs which rule the streets.
More consequential, paying Tivoli and apologizing and demonizing the security forces cemented the notion that Jamaica is a criminal state.