The recent spate of killings in West Kingston is a serious point of concern. Not just for the innocent who are dying at an alarming rate, but for the future of the elimination of garrisons in Jamaica.
How will the Government, who campaigned on a mandate to remove garrisons in Jamaica, succeed at doing this if it cannot protect the innocent in the biggest garrison post-Dudus?
The psychology behind "garrisonisation" is quite straightforward. Area leaders are promoted based on the fact that they provide a certain level of security and support for a community seemingly forgotten by the State superstructure. Out of the despair and resentment rises a saviour who provides that which the Government cannot, either because of an unwillingness to or an inability.
Indeed, Jamaica has been a financially dependent country, over the decades, and this has mitigated against the support of some of these communities, and has subsequently led to the rapid growth in the number and size of garrisons through the 70s, 80s and especially the 90s.
Tivoli Gardens, however, was suppose to have been a symbolic victory. A victory that showed people that it is possible to be protected without the help of a war overlord. If the biggest garrison in Jamaica can survive without a Dudus, why can't you? This would've fostered a certain trust in the Government, and a removal or deterioration of the need to have garrisonised communities. But the State is failing to do that right now in West Kingston, either because of the same inability or the unwillingness that saw to its growth in the first place.
We hear of six people being killed in three days with far too much regularity. How will you convince people to help you fight against the garrisons they live in with the looming reality that if they do, they might die? The State needs to intervene in whatever way they can. The people will not give up these killers because they are still accustomed to the "garrison psychology", as such the State must take serious action. Whatever action is necessary. For if they don't, we will have a bigger, stronger Tivoli of yore, as I'm sure one might be growing as we speak. And God forbid if we have another "Tivoli incursion", accompanied by the deaths of scores of civilians.
We have a chance to fix a societal glitch, let us take it.