Letters to the Editor

Crime has been watered by the privileged

Thursday, February 08, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Crime can be likened to a tree. And, like any other tree, it starts off small, from a seed. With the right conditions this seed germinates and sprouts. The root system is more developed before any growth is even noticed on the surface. Like a tree, crime will continue to grow towards the sky.

Over the years, much of Jamaica's crime fighting tactics have been reactionary, merely cutting off branches, while the root flourishes. Many times in analysing the country's crime situation we hear that poverty is at the root of it. But as Grammy-winning reggae artiste Junior Gong puts it, “The majority of gunman poor.” Thus crime could not have been given the right environment to flourish from the poor man's level. The rich and the privileged are to be addressed to uproot the problem.

Jamaica's crime problem was nourished to unprecedented levels during the political turmoil of the 70s and 80s as the 'armed enforcers' secured election victory and turf. This was the genesis of the garrison era and the mother of many of the challenges we now face — problems created by the privileged.

Forget about “Dudus”, “Jim Brown”, etc, ask anyone in those areas and they'll tell you who the real dons are; and this applies to both sides of the political divide.

We hear the politicians talk of dismantling garrisons, about the need to prevent informal settlements and to regularise landownership. We know of the ills of these squatter communities. Despite this, come election time, politicians are seen campaigning in these areas, embracing the wrongs, even protecting these people.

Protoje's Blood Money highlights other ways in which the privileged have been the cause of crime. Recall the networks of poor people doing the dirty work, the drug smuggling, racketeering, and killing in the furtherance of these crimes. The names of the leaders are known; they are high-profile, well-off, and connected, the privileged of society. But they are untouchable; above the law.

For years the crime plague has been afflicting the country, but it has been allowed. The privileged in society were far removed and protected from it.

Now the tables turned and they have started to feel the effects of the seeds they sowed. They have started being victims. Now it has become important to address the issue. We are scampering to find solutions.

But until the privileged take responsibility, until they are accountable for their wrongs, until justice is equal across the board, and until the arms of the law can reach the highest echelons of society, the situation will get no better.

No Brain





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