Not a coalition government, just a joint assault on crime


Not a coalition government, just a joint assault on crime

Thursday, May 14, 2020

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Asked by a journalist, the late Prime Minister Edward Seaga once said that a coalition government would not work in Jamaica because the concept was not a part of the culture or psyche of Jamaicans.

We are not asking for a coalition government, just for the Government and the Opposition to engage in a joint assault on crime, especially murders, to afford Jamaica a real chance at national development and for her people to exist without fear of the constant bloodletting.

We again join the private sector groups which this week renewed their call for a consensus between the Government and Opposition on a crime-fighting strategy in light of the recent reports of child murders across the island.

Jamaica has been hard done by a crop of heartless politicians who seem to believe that it is impossible to win power without the support of hoodlums who intimidate voters, either to vote their way or not vote at all if they favour the other side.

The clamouring of the Jamaican people for crime to be taken out of the political arena and for efforts to unite the country against the blood-thirsty gunmen continues to fall on deaf ears, even as the half-baked measures fail to halt the violence claiming men, women, and children almost on a daily basis.

The best the politicians can offer is a knee-jerk response to the cry of the people by promising joint Vale Royal meetings which achieve nothing and are discontinued on the flimsiest of excuses or as soon as they believe the people are distracted by the vicissitudes of their daily existence.

The plea of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), in their joint statement marking the start of National Child's Month, is worth repeating.

“Jamaica has lost too many bright young minds, who had the potential to make significant contributions to the nation. Sadly, we will never know what these children could have been, because while at the forefront the country has been battling COVID-19, crime continues to rear its ugly head,” the statement read.

“…The singular approach and focus to mitigating the impact of COVID-19, underpinned by citizenry and political directorate support, should be equally channelled and replicated in tackling crime and violence.

“It is this level of response and coordination that must be used in our approach to reduce crime and violence. There must be a national consensus whereby the Government and the Opposition can come together on the issue and lead in a collaborative and organised manner.”

We agree wholeheartedly with the private sector groups that the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the country is able to unite “when there is a threat to our very existence”.

When it is considered that murders are by far outstripping deaths from the coronavirus it begs the question why are the politicians so reluctant to join hands to fight crime in the way they are combatting COVID-19, despite their differences on approach.

But the private sector groups can help to prod them some more: Withhold the election campaign funds and see what they do.

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