Listening to the prime minister's presentation at the recent party conference, I was disappointed not to hear how the government plans to tackle crime. Crime is the main scourge of our Jamaican people, affecting tourism, business expansion, loss of competent workers and the breakdown of family life.
Every day the newspapers are full of murder stories, shootings, robberies and rapes, without any solutions offered by the appropriate ministers. My sympathies go to the commissioner of police who has been given a "basket to carry water". Little do people understand that pressure on the police to perform more may lead to the brutality of their response; which in turn attracts criticism from liberal-minded people. A circle of finger pointing!
About a month ago I wrote pointing out that with the departure of foreign
crime-fighting experts from the UK, the crime situation might worsen, and I was assured that replacements from other countries would be available. Where are they? I was given "a six for a nine". Though our frontline fighters are quite effective and have the JDF behind them, help at the technical and management level can make a difference.
So my first suggestion towards a solution is to reinforce the police with resourceful crime management, which is capable of advising where and how to start breaking up the criminals. The output from our courts is poor. Justice must be applied quickly and efficiently for it to be effective. Getting the criminals into a lock-up is urgent business. Need I remind anyone that "the true (swift and sure) administration of justice is the foundation of good government!" Perhaps we need to give the gun court more responsibilities so that major violent crimes are dealt with swiftly. Then we need to coordinate sentencing with the degree of violence perpetrated on the victim. Some crimes will attract life sentence with parole, some without parole, and some with death. I suggest the punishment should fit the crime.
Do I hear inhumane pleas? If a person premeditates crime or violence and carries out torture on the victim, then a death penalty is indicated. Where the crime is rape, and the rapist has a record, we should consider neutering or castration, so that the impetus for rape is removed. That is the second solution.
The death penalty is also indicated, should the perpetrator be part of a gang, and the capital crime is murder. All over the world in most countries, the formation of gangs is growing and their effects are seditious and abhorrent. Their crimes are clearly premeditated as is the practice with gangs, and weapons are part of their culture; their intent is clear and often well thought out. Their brutality is without measure. Some will kill for a fee.
So the third solution is clear. Disband the gangs! I am aware that the police already have this in their plans. They used to have a unit dealing with organised crime which was called Kingfish.
But do they understand that there is no alternative? Gang formation and violence must cease by whatever means, perhaps with military intelligence and support; especially from our churches which will see the first signs in their communities and their congregations.
We should start this three-pronged attack with as much effort as possible.