Editorial

Thank God Mr Renato Adams is out

Sunday, August 15, 2010    

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LIKE all well-thinking citizens of this country, we are sick and tired of the stress that crime is causing. We want to be rid of the gunmen who are murdering, robbing, raping and otherwise traumatising the society.

We long for the time when we will be free to do business, raise our children and just plain live without having to brace for the next attack by criminals who have been so aptly described by Mr Renato Adams, the former head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's now disbanded Crime Management Unit, as ferocious alligators.

According to Mr Adams, who visited the horrific scene in Tredegar Park, St Catherine, where marauding gunmen mercilessly slaughtered eight individuals — two children included — early Friday, the only answer to that tragedy is to find the culprits and kill them.

"I heard that two (gunmen) have been killed; they had their day in court... I hope the other three have their days in court; if you want me to be more explicit, have them found and killed," he told journalists at the scene.

No trial, not even a scintilla of due process, just an outright execution, all, amazingly, in the name of justice.

The frightening thing about Mr Adams' pronouncements is that, bizarre as they are, they represent the views of significant sections of this society.

Many a policeman and civilian, as evidenced by the horrific killing of Mr Ian 'Ching Sing' Lloyd in Buckfield, St Ann a few weeks ago, are only too willing to bypass the justice system in favour of what they perceive to be a swifter, more convenient and more effective form of retribution.

We cannot, in the name of civility, endorse this.

For while we are fully cognisant of the grief that the families of the victims of Friday's and other awful attacks are feeling, what Mr Adams is advocating is murder, the unlawful taking of life for reasons that are not sanctioned by the laws of this land.

If we subscribe to this view, which posits the replacement of judge, jury and executioner, with anyone or everyone who is justifiably outraged by crime, where is the line to be drawn?

Who is to draw it?

Mr Adams?

The policeman charged with Mr Lloyd's murder?

The crowd of spectators who cheered him on?

We may not like the laws that govern us, but unless and until they are changed through the democratic machinery that distinguishes us from the rogue states of this world, we are obliged to obey them.

Any agent of the State who refuses to acknowledge this truth cannot lay claim to a legitimate tenure.

For the law represents, among many things, the apparatus via which the State governs. If, as Mr Adams is suggesting, it is perfectly okay for the State to break its own rules, then there really is no authority or logic upon which it can legitimately instruct us to keep them.

If it is okay for someone, anyone, to just apprehend and execute the savages that put out the lives of the eight in Tredegar Park, what need would there be for the local justice system?

Why train lawyers and judges?

Why empanel juries?

We do not believe that these questions can be dismissed in favour of satisfying the need for retribution, no matter what.

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