The People’s National Party in Jamaica, the Opposition party to the Governing Jamaica Labor Party took the position over the last couple of weeks that it would pull its support from the State’s Of Emergency declared in Saint James and parts of Saint Catherine.
The explanation given by the PNP is that the security forces, are simply scraping up large numbers of young men and locking them up and not enough of these young people are being charged with crimes.
Now, I can tell you personally that that has been one of the Achilles heels of the security forces when they are given additional powers to clamp down on criminal conduct, as someone who spent a decade in law enforcement between 1982 and 1992.
There are two intertwined facts though in that reality which I would like to quickly point to and they are (1) when the security forces deploy these huge dragnets they do scrape up some of the violence producers as well as some others.
Some are innocent and some not so innocent, if you understand Jamaica’s criminal networks.
(2) This is a matter which the political opposition could have approached the administration on with a view to finding a solution to that particular sore point the party says it is bothered by.
Doing so would render other peripheral issues moot if the primary issue of over detention was addressed.
Those other points pertained to (a)the length of time in detention and(b) the treatment of detainees while in detention.
Remarkably, the source of the data on which the opposition claimed to have formulated it’s decision largely came from the Public Defender and an antagonistic anti-police lobby called Jamaican’s For Justice.
Now, there are several issues with these two sources, (a) the information presented to a select committee of the nation’s parliament by the Public Defender Arlene Harrison-Henry has been widely discredited as inaccurate and vastly exaggerated by the police, the very source from which the PD stated she received the data.
To date that critical issue has not been settled, except for a statement put out by the PD which stated that she “stands by her statements to the committee“.
But how can that simply be the end of that? Can a public official, paid by tax dollars, give an erroneous accounting to the people’s parliament and simply say that she stands by what she said and that’s it?
Can she simply say “I said what I said” without giving clarification or correcting the record and it is simply left at that?
She has done neither to date, yet the Opposition’s claims that people are being improperly treated are built on the statements of a public official who have been caught lying, and who refuses to retract those lies.
(b) The word of JFJ has no value, it is one-sided biased, anti-law enforcement criminal supporting lobby run by ignorant demagogues and therefore JFJ is undeserving
There may very well be a case to be made about Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ politics, I will leave that to the hyper-partisans but I do find that as far as Jamaican politics goes, he does try to seek consensus in governance.
This is a concept completely alien to the opposition PNP’s track record, which seems to be, my way or the highway.
And shockingly it seems to me, that the leader of the PNP, Peter Phillips believes that he is the Prime Minister, or that he has the same degree of leverage as the PM even as an unpopular opposition leader.
First of all, given the position of the Opposition on this issue, I would not be trying to bring them to the table but I’m not the PM and that is why Andrew Holness is the Prime Minister and I am not.
So the Prime Minister invited the Opposition leader to a sit down to have a discussion of the opposition’s concerns tomorrow.
As I thought would be the case, Phillips wrote to the Prime Minister stating the following.
“Given the very short notice, it is not possible for our team to meet tomorrow. The earliest the team can be assembled is January 7, 2019.”
Now because I don’t have any idea what the opposition leader’s schedule looks like, maybe someone can educate me on what exactly Peter Phillips may have to do which renders him unable to meet with the nation’s chief executive until January 7th?
In the meantime, I’m going to assume that he is grandstanding and leveraging power that he does not have.
As I said in a previous article, the PNP of today is no more interested in working to solve this existential crime problem than the PNP under Portia Simpson Miller wanted to walk the garrisons with Andrew Holness.
The SOE’s cannot be the administration’s crime strategy, but for want of a better way forward it has saved numerous lives last year and that is not up for debate.
The Jamaican people have to decide for themselves whether they want the PNP to continue to use a toxic and dangerous anti-police outside lobby (JFJ) and partisan moles like the Public Defender to help them to sabotage the government’s progress on crime?
People are walking away from their homes in places like Mandeville, parishes like Hanover once considered havens of peace and quiet.
This Opposition party seems quite content for this to continue until the Chinese buy up all of these properties and Jamaicans are left as subservient slaves to foreigners in their own country.
That is the country the PNP wants to govern, a broken dysfunctional, poverty-stricken dystopian hell hole.
In fact, that is the modus operandi of the party. A party which loves squalor, crime and abject poverty. A time tested strategy the party has used to attract the worst elements in our country to look to them for leadership.
In other words, people looking for freeness across the board.
Free houses, free electricity, free water and free money to live on. That is not the way to build a country and we have already seen this playbook before.