Editorial

Replicate Supt Castelle's commendable action

Friday, February 22, 2013    

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For decades, certain communities, especially those occupied by poor and working-class Jamaicans, have been controlled by criminals who are loosely referred to as 'dons'.

These delinquents maintain their illegitimate rule either by purchasing residents' support or by coercion.

People in the know will attest to the fact that both of these scenarios are often played out at the scene of demonstrations against the killing or arrest of these criminals, who are sometimes euphemistically labelled as 'community leaders'.

One has only to recall the massive white T-shirt demonstration staged by residents of Tivoli Gardens in 2010 before the security forces eventually responded to unprovoked attacks against the State by gunmen loyal to Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who was wanted by the United States Government.

It is against that background that we commend the police for demolishing or painting out murals of these so-called dons and their criminal associates in a number of communities.

We agree with Superintendent Anthony Castelle of the St Catherine North Police Division that young people in these communities should not be left with the impression that gangsterism is the way forward.

All well-thinking Jamaicans should support Superintendent Castelle and the wider police force in their drive to rid communities of the concept that gangsters are the ultimate role models.

In fact, those individuals who are inclined to believe so should recall that the majority of these 'dons' are either killed at a young age or are serving very long sentences in prison.

People should also remember that these criminals are really selfish scum who amass great wealth for themselves while tossing a few crumbs from their ill-gotten gains to the communities in which they shelter.

Young people who would idolise these criminals should also bear in mind that it is their sisters, daughters, or even mothers, who are raped repeatedly by these evil men -- men who, in order to satisfy their thirst for blood, will kill your fathers, brothers, and your babies.

We have seen repeated evidence in the past of people who continue to give succour to these criminals.

We will reiterate a position we have advanced in this space for many years: it is that both the People's National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party have a major role to play in ridding this country of these scum.

To be fair to both parties, they have, in the past, claimed that there is no place inside their organisations for these kinds of individuals. However, paying lip service is not enough.

They should turn their faces resolutely against those among them who still grant favours, give support, and try to sanitise the image of these 'dons' and 'community leaders'.

Both political parties should also take the brave step of publicly removing from their campaign platforms anyone with questionable links to any of these shady individuals. That, we believe, will send a clear signal to the country that criminality can find no shelter in our politics.

It is our hope that the commendable initiative by Superintendent Castelle will be replicated across the island. For there are too many other communities where criminals are allowed to hold sway.

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