Don't condemn Jamaica to a dark future of anarchy

Friday, March 02, 2018

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The operators of robot taxis do not start the journey from their terminus with just one passenger. In fact, it is not uncommon for these drivers to squeeze an extra commuter into their cars, essentially operating with an overload.

We make this observation because on the evening of February 6, 2018, when Mr France Nooks was brutally stabbed in his heart by the driver of a robot taxi plying the Half-Way-Tree to Papine route in St Andrew, someone must have seen this cruel act.

Certainly, Mr Nooks was not the only passenger in that robot taxi, plus the route is heavily travelled, therefore other motorists would have been on the road and most likely saw what was happening.

That no one has so far come forward with information on this most evil murder is an indication of the callousness, fear and lack of regard for human life that have unfortunately engulfed too many people in this country.

Even worse is information we have received that there is a conspiracy of silence among other robot taxi operators on this route — the same kind of conspiracy which has brought Jamaica to this dire situation in which the typical approach is “see and blind, hear and deaf”.

We have argued repeatedly in this space that Jamaica will continue to struggle with this problem of crime unless people see it as their duty to give information to the authorities about what they see and hear.

Mr France's murder and the silence of those who know the identity of his killer revive memories of the heinous killing of Miss Mickolle Moulton in Arnett Gardens last year August.

Readers will recall that this bright, promising 17-year-old Meadowbrook High School student and her 12-year-old sister were in their bed when a brute pointed a gun into the window and shot them. Mickolle died, while her sister was hospitalised.

We have no doubt that people in that community know who was responsible for that act of cowardice. However, instead of being enraged by the murder, the community was furious at speculation that Miss Moulton was killed because she refused the sexual advances of men in the community.

The people who have information about crime and opt to stay silent should ask themselves how they would feel if the victims were members of their own family or were their close friends.

We accept that there is good reason for the trust deficit between the police and some communities. However, the authorities have gone to great lengths to open several avenues through which information can be shared in confidence.

Our point is worth repeating that Jamaicans cannot choose to suppress information and then blame the justice system when perpetrators of crime are freed for lack of evidence. If we opt to continue along that path we are basically condemning the country to a dark future of anarchy.

We again appeal to all law-abiding Jamaicans to seriously think about whether we intend to allow criminals to continue robbing families, and indeed the country, of our most precious resource.

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