Is Jamaica becoming a mini-garrison State?

Is Jamaica becoming a mini-garrison State?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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Dear Editor,

There is anecdotal evidence that Jamaica is headed towards becoming a mini-garrison State.

A garrison State is a country organised to serve primarily its own needs for military security.

The first supporting evidence is the 2019/20 national budget. The Ministry of National Security got $92.6 billion or 11.3 per cent of the budget, while health got $72.7 billion or nine per cent of the total budget. National security is as important as education, which got $ 110.6 billion or 13.8 per cent of the total budget.

The money Jamaica spends on national security has been on an upward trajectory. Last year Jamaica spent $72.4 billion or 9.4 per cent of the total budget.

The state of emergency initiative is a form of martial law or military law. It has an inherent military philosophy of the use of excessive force to guarantee victory. If excessive force is used it increases the chance of success and minimises the danger to the solider on the ground. This might be an acceptable tactic in fighting a foreign enemy but it is unacceptable on a country's own citizenry.

Another hidden principle of the use of the state of emergency to fight crime is that it is better to capture an innocent than to let a guilty person go free. This is contrary to Jamaica's legal system, which assumes it better to let a guilty escape punishment than convict an innocent; hence the burden of proof philosophy in the Western judicial system.

The fact that the murder rate goes back up immediately after the states of emergency ends indicates it is not a remedy but a suppression of crime and is a mere military intervention without a social or political solution for the marginalised.

The use of the state of emergency to fight crime is ignorance. A more surgical approach, based on intelligence, that targets gang leaders and their lieutenants will be more effective.

The United States employed a surgical approach to decimate the mafia, and that's how they convicted Al Capone.

Brian E Plummer

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