Letters to the Editor

Dismantle the garrisons now!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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Dear Editor,

The National Democratic Movement (NDM) welcomes and endorses the recent call by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck for the People's National Party (PNP) and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to dismantle the garrisons.

The NDM has, from its inception in 1995, been calling for the end of the shameful and awful practice of 'garrison politics' wherein zones of political exclusions (garrisons) were created and enforced by criminal elements working in tandem with politicians in the country's two major political parties — an ugly culture which breeds crime and stifles the growth and development of Jamaica.

We are hoping that the slaughter of approximately 70 persons in Tivoli Gardens (a JLP garrison) in 2010, who were sacrificed at the altar of garrison politics, and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by Government from taxpayers' money to stage a commission of enquiry, will not go down in vain. One of the key recommendations coming from the final report of that commission is for the dismantling of the garrison structure which it found to be a blight on our democracy and our country.

We recall that former US President Jimmy Carter, on his visit to Jamaica in 1997 to observe the general election that year, expressed shock and horror at the existence of political garrison communities — a phenomenon he said he was seeing for the first time and had not seen anywhere else in the world. He made an appeal for the practice to end.

Let us hope that Justice Minister Delroy Chuck's call for the dismantling of the garrisons at this time — a time when we celebrate our national heroes and on the eve of by-elections in two major garrison seats (St Andrew South Western and St Andrew Southern, both PNP garrisons) — will gain traction and gather momentum for the process of de-garissonising Jamaica now.

The JLP and PNP owe at least this much to Jamaica if their promises about Vision 2030 are not just mere platitudes.

In the name of our national heroes, who fought for our freedom and liberty, set our people free from the clutches of garrison politics.

Peter A Townsend


National Democratic Movement





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