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We know the criminals; lock them up!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Dear Editor,

Crime was a major problem last, year and if policymakers continue to delude themselves it may be worse this year.

It is not hard for members of the security forces to gather intelligence. Since Jamaica is quite small, it ought to be easy to obtain information. Therefore, the growing crime problem suggests that either policymakers are afraid to solve the problem or may be connected to the instigators of crime.

For example, it is public knowledge that guns are easily sold and rented in communities across Jamaica. It is an even more glaring reality that, with enough influence and money, one can easily import ammunition into the country. Another major contributor to crime is the financing of ammunition by criminal Jamaicans residing overseas. Additionally the major gangs in the country and their leaders are also known by the security forces, yet convictions are not forthcoming.

Since the causes of crime are identifiable, appropriate solutions can be created.

The first strategy would be to eradicate corruption at the Customs agency. Eradicating corruption will prevent ammunition from entering the country and into the hands of criminals. The security forces must identify the parties providing the ammunition and charge them for violating the law.

On the other hand, the Government will need to collaborate with North America and Europe so that information can be obtained to punish Jamaicans in the diaspora who are financing illicit activities.

Additionally, the police need to start arresting known criminals. It will not be easy to convict them because of their top-notch defence teams and the unwillingness of individuals to give evidence in court, but these challenges should not prevent the police from targeting criminals.

If policymakers are afraid to solve the crime problem, or are connected to criminals, then they should excuse themselves from the business of preventing crime. We can no longer afford their ineffectiveness.


Lipton Matthews