Letters to the Editor

Profit over life?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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Dear Editor,

So let me get this straight: We would rather have money in our pockets and in the bank than peace of mind and the value of our individual lives?

Well, based on a recent newspaper article, it would appear that profit is more important than life as business operators in St Catherine North, which is currently under a state of emergency (SOE) owing to the alarming crime rates there, are upset that they have to “lock shop” early.

Am I to understand that they would much prefer to live with the uncertainty of gun-toting villains running around, where the possibility of loss of life is a matter of chance, than close at a stipulated time for a stipulated period?

While I understand the economic impact of the SOE, and indeed the importance of making a profit, it is in no way comparable to the thrust to achieve peace in the communities where the SOEs have been imposed.

Again, while I do not discount the seriousness of issues and how it affects the livelihood of residents it must be recalled that a profit is impossible to come by when you are pumped full of bullets and the undertaker puts you under.

Yes, I am shocked and distressed at the level of crime and violence that is ravaging Jamaica that we have to resort to extreme security measures in an attempt to curb it. Believe me, I am appalled. But I do not lack common sense.

I see a Government doing everything it can within the confines of the law to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. At a time when resources are limited, as they always have been, the Government has to be judicious, and citizens have to be cooperative and sensible. We have to play an active role in our own safety and we have to cooperate with law men and women. The fight against crime is a partnership that requires all hands on deck. We cannot have people skirting the rules, placing themselves in harm's way, and ultimately defeating the objective of protecting and preserving lives and reducing crime and violence for good.

As a people we must work with, instead of seeking to undermine the established systems that govern us.

Bar owners, instead of following the rules, are encouraging their customers to drink in the dark as they close their doors to avoid being detected by the police officers operating in the area. I note also that business owners in St Catherine North are similarly complaining about having been made to pay because they were operating without the requisite licence and food permit. What?! Isn't it a legal requirement that bar operators have spirit licences and food permits? Rules are important! They ensure the safety of not just your customers, but also protect you for prosecution. It's a simple, legal fact!

But, again, here's an example of how we seek to skirt the rules for a quick buck and then we complain when we are forced to deal with unpleasant realities.

Unfortunately, the price to pay for breaking the rules is not merely a loss of profit, it's the potential loss of life and those business owners must make a decision as to whether that's a gamble they are willing to take and whether it is more important to make a profit or be alive.

JR Grant


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