New Year, New Decade, PM Must Act On Violent Crime Now…

With over 1300 homi­cides in 2019, mur­ders hap­pen­ing in Zones Of Special Operations and in spaces in which there are active States of Emergencies in place, there is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the sta­tus quo.
Several indi­vid­u­als over­seas have offered their ser­vices to the Jamaican Government to help with solv­ing this mon­ster which is rob­bing the coun­try of its human and eco­nom­ic trea­sures and poten­tial. Unfortunately, to date, there has been silence from the admin­is­tra­tion in Jamaica House, despite the con­tin­ued ele­vat­ed lev­els of homi­cides and oth­er vio­lent felonies being com­mit­ted dai­ly.

Not every per­son who claims to have exper­tise may offer up good or prac­ti­cal ideas on how to pro­ceed on this crit­i­cal mat­ter.
Nevertheless, even a bro­ken clock is right twice per day. On that basis alone, it is incom­pre­hen­si­ble that the admin­is­tra­tion would not jump at the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take advan­tage of the offers of help.
The Government could eas­i­ly form a blue-rib­bon pan­el to con­sid­er the sug­ges­tions. A blue-rib­bon pan­el that does not include any­one from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the oth­er know-noth­ing, know-it-alls, whose ideas got us into this pick­le in the first place.

Failure to accept offers of help and seri­ous­ly con­sid­er the pro­pos­als put for­ward will con­firm what many peo­ple both local­ly and abroad already believe, that politi­cians are heav­i­ly invest­ed in the state of crim­i­nal­i­ty in the coun­try.
For our part, we have sug­gest­ed over the last decade that the nation needs com­pre­hen­sive reso­cial­iza­tion of our peo­ple. Since Government can­not leg­is­late moral val­ues in the home, it should begin by doing so in the schools.
For years I have called for a clos­er look at bring­ing young peo­ple not going to col­lege or trade schools under the tute­lage of some kind of pro­gram, run and super­vised by the Jamaica Defense Force. That pro­gram would not include tac­tics and or strate­gies that could be used against the coun­try if the indi­vid­ual choos­es to step out­side the laws.

Discipline and Civic duty and respon­si­bil­i­ty are crit­i­cal com­po­nents in nation-build­ing. None of these pro­pos­als have been act­ed on in a ful­some way, and as is cus­tom­ary the pro­pos­als are being regur­gi­tat­ed local­ly as if they are nov­el ideas.
In 2013, three years after the INDECOM act was passed and it came up for review, I wrote sev­er­al arti­cles beg­ging the then admin­is­tra­tion to change aspects of the law, to com­plete­ly repeal and replace it, or pay for inac­tion lat­er.
The law came up for review, as it has rea­son­ably been designed to after 3 years. At the time the Police, Military and even the Minister of National Security came out against the Act.

Minister of National Security at the time Peter Bunting did not mince words in rela­tion to the Act. quote: This com­mis­sion is too pow­er­ful!
Nothing sub­stan­tive, if at all, was done by the par­lia­ment and the Act was allowed to remain.
The dam­age to the rule of law in the coun­try since then, will nev­er be known. Notwithstanding, it is clear that what emanat­ed from the last decade of the INDECOM Act, is that we have a police depart­ment that is com­plete­ly immo­bi­lized and unwill­ing to get involved in fight­ing crime, out of fear of being crim­i­nal­ized.

That is not to say that INDECOM is sole­ly to blame for the high lev­el of vio­lent crime in the coun­try. Far from it, nev­er­the­less, the last thing that the police need­ed was a [rabid dog] with a per­son­al agen­da, who is will­ing to coach and coerce wit­ness­es to lie in order to build crim­i­nal cas­es against police offi­cers sim­ply for doing their jobs.
On that score, INDECOM and Terrence Williams have become a sanc­tu­ary for the crim­i­nal gangs oper­at­ing on the Island, com­pa­ra­ble only to the polit­i­cal cov­er under which ’70s and 80’s gang­sters oper­at­ed with impuni­ty.

Today, the sin­gle most astound­ing thing to me as a for­mer front line crime fight­er, is the igno­rance and bone-head­ed­ness of the present admin­is­tra­tion in its belief that vio­lent crime can be con­tained by a show of red seams and cam­ou­flage uni­forms.
High law enforce­ment vis­i­bil­i­ty is a deter­rent for some cat­e­gories of crimes and offens­es. Traffic offens­es sim­ple lar­ce­nies, etc
Vigilant police patrols are a deter­rent to break­ings, bur­glar­ies, rob­beries, and oth­er offens­es of that nature.
Great crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tors with the appro­pri­ate work­ing knowl­edge of crim­i­nals and their modus operan­di, who are unafraid to take them down one way or anoth­er, are the only deter­rent to gang­land activ­i­ty.

That is the rea­son that despite the smoke-screens called ZOSO and the SOE’s there has been an increase in vio­lent crimes, and dan­ger­ous killers are not being held account­able nei­ther in the courts on any sig­nif­i­cant lev­el, or are they being neu­tral­ized by the police.
The Island’s polit­i­cal lead­er­ship, and the Prime Minister, in par­tic­u­lar, con­tin­ue to play pol­i­tics on this issue. In the mean­time, in the last decade alone, over 16,000 Jamaicans have lost their lives vio­lent­ly.
The laws are not near­ly tough enough. The police are not near­ly as effec­tive as they should be, because the real offi­cers who want to make a dif­fer­ence have no guar­an­teed path in this JCF, and are fear­ful of being crim­i­nal­ized.

In the mean­time, the aver­age joe on the street have no respect for the laws.
They are unper­turbed by the pres­ence of the police and are quite will­ing to drape offi­cers in their uni­forms and beat the hell out of them. (Ashes cold dawg sleep in de).
This is a new year, it requires new ideas, humil­i­ty, and intro­spec­tion. Clearly, the strate­gies employed in deal­ing with vio­lent crimes over the last three years are [not]working.
And so I beseech the Prime Minister to change course. “You have the pow­er and the office to lead on this sem­i­nal issue”.
Mister Prime Minister, it is only great lead­ers who have the humil­i­ty to say I made a mis­take”. Violent crim­i­nals require a firm hand. A very firm hand.
Do not be delud­ed any longer into think­ing that flood­ing neigh­bor­hoods with the uni­formed bod­ies of poor­ly trained police offi­cers and sol­diers are the solu­tion to these killings.
They are not.
Too many inno­cent peo­ple have died because your admin­is­tra­tion and oth­ers before it refused to act deci­sive­ly against crim­i­nals. The ball is in your court, you do not want any more blood on your hands.
You are the leader of the coun­try.
Act now.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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