Is this the best the National Security Council can do?

Thursday, June 06, 2019

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Last Thursday, the National Security Council (NSC) announced that it had tasked the attorney general to lead discussions with the Opposition on legislative initiative to support crime fighting.

It is clearly better than doing nothing at all, but we wonder if that is the best the NSC can do to signal the seriousness with which it is approaching the work of advancing the development of effective measures to bolster the work of the security forces.

Is it too radical a move to have the Opposition represented on the National Security Council to pool resources of mind towards achieving a collective approach in the fight against the scourge of crime?

We have consistently advocated that the Government and Opposition combine forces to fight crime, thereby uniting the country around the biggest threat to our national progress. Obviously, it is a difficult thing to ask of politicians who desperately need to score points over their opponents, even as they watch the daily flow of Jamaican blood and the perpetual carnage from generation to generation.

We are also aware that the difficulty is related to the deep and historical connections between politics and crime, which makes the recent call by NSC chair, Prime Minister Andrew Holness on cops to break with dons well meant but empty rhetoric.

Merely referring the Opposition to the attorney general cannot replace the stalled and now seemingly abandoned Vale Royal talks between the two major political parties. All that can achieve is the futile hope that it will silence the Opposition. The least educated Jamaican knows how that goes.

We in this space do not know how yet to measure the outcome of the work being undertaken by the National Security Council. For sure it talks a good talk.

“As a matter of priority, the NSC continued its review, [as well as] development of policy and legislation to support the structured use of enhanced security measures. This is being designed to empower the security forces with a suite of legislative tools deemed necessary to more effectively treat with any geographic area within Jamaica, afflicted by extraordinary levels of criminal activity that threaten life, public order, peace, and general security beyond the capacity of regular law enforcement,” its press statement said.

Additionally, we are told, the NSC reviewed the progress that has been made on other pieces of legislation being crafted and/or amended in order to strengthen the overall legislative framework for effective law enforcement.

“Prime Minister Holness highlighted his own concerns regarding the recent brazen incidents of criminality and emphasised to the security chiefs that these criminals must be caught and brought to justice,” the NSC tells us.

“The prime minister also reiterated the Government's commitment to provide the necessary resources, ensuring that all the requisite national efforts are aligned to respond to the triple threat of dons, gangs and guns,” it said, adding:

“The prime minister made it very clear, that the Government will continue to pursue those measures that will protect and secure the people of Jamaica, rooting out all criminal elements.”

We really have to get past the talk and deal seriously with results.

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