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NDM plea for a united front on crime

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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Dear Editor,

The following is aN open letter to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Dr Peter Phillips, leader of the Opposition:

I am writing to you both regarding the matter at caption.

It is an established fact that crime is Jamaica's number one problem and that our murder rate is way above what is considered the standard threshold for a country engulfed in civil war.

We are doing the Jamaican people a disservice by not fixing the crime problem now. It can no longer be business as usual.

Despite what may be perceived as best efforts by both parties, crime still remains untenable. It is time to put party politics aside; it is certainly time to put egos aside; it is now time to put the people of Jamaica first.

I am appealing to both of you, on behalf of the Jamaican people, whose lives are at stake and whose lives you consider as precious, to cease and desist from politicising crime and crime-fighting efforts.

We must all be united around one table with zero tolerance for crime. Hence, both governing Administration and parliamentary Opposition must be unified on crime-fighting. You can be divided on economic policies, education strategies, etc, but you must be on the same page where crime fighting is concerned if you are serious about your much-heralded Vision 2030 goal for “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.

To this end, and in addition to the crime fighting strategies/initiatives being presently employed, I am proposing a telethon against crime, the intent of which is to present to the people of Jamaica the political parties' united front against crime. This should be a media blitz creatively designed to reach every nook and cranny of Jamaica and every individual on the island, staged in every parish over a three-month period or more.

This could generate support (not necessarily financial) and sensitise the Jamaican people on the impact of all types of crimes and, hopefully, get a full buy-in to the zero-tolerance approach and a commitment from all citizens to play their part in helping to reduce/eliminate crime.

The proposed telethon could include, but not be limited to:

• panel discussions on the negative impact of crime on the country;

• a blitz against the “eat-a-food” and “informer fi dead” cultures;

• political parties' disavowment of garrison politics, donmanship and criminality in all shapes and forms;

• sensitising the Jamaican people to the negative impact of the various types of crimes, however seemingly simple or complex; and the social and financial cost to individuals and households and how the chain reaction or vicious circle of the implications for Jamaica's existence and success in terms of tourism, industry & commerce, employment, health and happiness affects our citizenry.

The panel should host experts in all the areas mentioned previously to highlight the negative impact of crime in those domains. It must also host the common man/woman who would give testimony to the negative impact on their lives, eg loss of loved ones, loss of earnings, loss of property and possessions, loss of good health and well-being, etc.

Crime is committed by persons from all socio-economic backgrounds, simply put, by the rich and the poor. It also impacts all Jamaicans whether directly or indirectly. What is evident is that the brunt of the impact/fallout is usually felt by the most vulnerable among us. All Jamaicans must join hands in protecting each other against destructive elements.

Fast-tracked research must be done, existing research must be used, the language must be simple so that the least educated among our population can understand and appreciate the impact of crime, where we need to go and what we need to do to eliminate it.

Politicians in each parish should openly and publicly disavow crime and criminality and links to garrison politics, donmanship and criminality. All efforts should be made to ensure the apolitical nature/impression of the telethon is maintained. It must be made clear to all that the country cannot move forward to prosperity with crime remaining at the staggering level it is at present. It must be made clear that it is only with the unified and collective efforts of all Jamaicans that crime will be vanquished. It must be made clear that the political parties are united around this common enemy/scourge called crime.

Sirs, let us do this for the people of Jamaica! Let the annals of history judge you and us as having done the right thing (even for this once) for the sake of our great nation. Leave a lasting legacy for generations unborn.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated favourable response. The people wait!

Sincerely,

Peter A Townsend

President

National Democratic Movement

ndmjamaica@yahoo.com

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