Columns

The importation of terror

Jason
McKay

Sunday, June 09, 2019

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'La Cosa Nostra', 'mafia' and 'mob' are all different terms for the same organised crime group. Although the Cosa Nostra is very much an American creation, it has its roots in Italy, or more specifically, Sicily.

The immigration of men from Sicily in the early years of the previous century replanted the seeds of the Sicilian criminal culture in the United States. Although they were Sicilian criminals, the modern configuration is American. The existing crime group that came over from Sicily was really the gang known as the Black Handers, who were largely blackmailers who used a technique of threatening harm to Italian merchants or their families if they were not paid a bounty.

The Chinese criminal organisation known as the Triads has its history in the 17th century as one of the secret societies formed in an environment of abdication and overthrow of existing dynasties that ruled China. The purge of secret societies by Mao Tse-tung in 1949 led to the fleeing of this society to Hong Kong, which was then under British rule. It was there that crime became their primary area of activity, with the British taking a hands-off approach since the Triads preyed only on their own race (typical British technique of that era).

The Triads today stand as one of the world's most organised and brutal criminal groups. It, however, has suffered in impact and survival since Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule in 1997. The Chinese Government has made inroads into the gang's influence and effect by using the typical tools of indefinite detention and other more powerful techniques only available to communist governments who do not have to operate hat in hand to western government dictates. (Gotta love those commies).

Both groups are major players in the American crime environment. Both exist because of immigration.

The relativity of this short history lesson to Jamaica is the set of challenges we are facing with immigration from India and the immigration we will soon be facing from the People's Republic of China.

“What immigration?” you may ask. Well, if you do not realise that every electronic and furniture store is owned and run by a recent immigrant from India, then you are blind, dumb, and deaf. Also, if you think that these highways and the land that has been sold with them will not be occupied by Chinese nationals in the form of a China town, then you have no vision.

I am not saying that this wave of immigration that has occurred from India, and that which is going to come from China, is a bad thing. Jamaicans are known for their tolerance of other races, cultures, and religions — and this is a positive development in creating a truly multi-cultural society.

We have, after all, resettled and populated New York, Miami and London, and that is just a few of our 'captured' zones in North America and the UK. However, we need to realise the risk of organised crime groups that function only within specific cultures. The Triad threat is real and must be part of a screening process in any mass migration into Jamaica from China, particularly Hong Kong. Because, let's face it: we do not have a clue who in the hell we are allowing in.

The Indian immigration that has occurred has introduced the seed of human trafficking in a very disturbing form, to a country that has a history of slavery and indentured servitude. There are human trafficking victims among them and, therefore, there are also human traffickers at work importing them. This should have been prevented. This could have been prevented!

We dropped the ball with imported crime before in the 1990s and the return of the deportees. This, to me, seemed a natural occurrence to expect after we systematically exported every major gun-toting thug after the 1980 election. Now, I don't know if that was someone's master plan, but if it was, did we really expect North America and England to imprison and kill them all? And if it was not a plot, someone please explain how infamous characters like Tony Welsh; Anthony Tingle, otherwise called Starky; and Lester Lloyd Coke, otherwise called Jim Brown got papers to resettle overseas.

The return of the deportees set the stage for the crime wave of the millennium. The Indian immigration of the last decade and a half brought about a new element of human trafficking and indentured servitude. Let us be wary and take the necessary measures to ensure that the coming Chinese immigration will be free of Triad influence or any other organised crime group.

Sitting here pretending that the immigration wave is not happening and will not be occurring tenfold makes us far worse off than the generation that was ill-prepared for the deportees of the '90s, because it would mean that we have not learnt from their mistakes.

Also, as we sit and view a Jamaica that is changing in many ways to include the massive introduction of foreign-funded and- owned infrastructure and the importation of new cultures, let us ensure that this will not mean we are accepting a new form of segregation geographical or otherwise. There must be no forming of large, single-race ghettos.

Integration into our country is just that: you have to integrate. The building of a China town will be the fertile ground to encourage Chinese organised crime and breed a culture of segregation. If you have moved to our country, then you should live among us.

We have a history of pretending that negative things are not occurring or will not occur. We have fooled ourselves from Independence to this current era on the risk analysis of almost every scenario that has presented itself. From pretending that the cold war would not impact us in the '60s and '70s, to the removal of heavy-handed policing in the '90s, to the pretence that exported gunmen would not return crime-educated, to the removal of the Suppression of Crime Act and its impact, right up to the creation of INDECOM and the purge of the front line policemen.

If we miss this one, we are not short-sighted, we are conveniently blind.

Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail.com


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