Make decisions to save lives


Sunday, January 06, 2019

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Pretending that a reality does not exist because it should not exist does not mean it ceases to exist.

I say this in relation to the country's security dilemma and the recent decision to end the states of emergency.

The crisis that we face is the fact that our current legal construct cannot facilitate a war against the Klansman gang, the Badda Clans gang, the One Order gang, and the slew of gangs that are involved in lotto scamming unless the State has the power of long-lerm detention. The State only truly has that in a state of emergency.

One would ask why. Is it because they are vicious and well-armed?

Well, they are, but that's not the reason. They have proved themselves ineffective in combat against the police and army time and time again, and usually get themselves killed in the process.

Is it because they are politically affiliated?

They are, and that fact doesn't help the authorities to fight them, but politicians are not really going out on a limb to defend those mongrels like they used to.

The reason lies in rules.

The authorities have rules that are guided by our constitution. This document was written by men who know the hard hand of corrupt government and State abuse. The constitution was geared to protect the citizens from State abuse, not from gang domination.

There were no gangs this large, well-armed, and involved in profitable activity when the constitution was created. So the document did not account for this battle.

Slums were not as large or as populated. Extortion was not an actual activity and other than a handful of rude boys, guns were for the use of the police force and toys for uptown men.

People often say 'these gangs are political creations', others say social. However these gangs came about is immaterial. They are here and we cannot fight them with the rules we have.

The state of emergency is the only tool we have.

Detention Acts, such as the Suppression of Crime Act, were removed once we established the Charter of Human Rights.

So what will be the implication?

Well, the murder rate will creep up this year, but more in the last four months. By December 2020 we will be looking back at 1,600.

The total loss of life that will be occur because of the removal is about 900 people over two years, of which about 700 will be criminals themselves, about 150 innocent, poor people, and about 50 also innocent, middle to upper class citizens.

It is the 200 innocents that make me angry. I am not directing this anger to any specific political party. I am directing it to politicians who make up our Parliament, irrespective of party.

The citizens of this country elected all of you. We expect you to find a way to collaborate and make decisions in our interest. We are depending on you 'to save our innocent'. We do not care how you do it, just get the damn job done!

I can understand if people die because of weather, or fire, or other unforeseen tragedies. But this carnage that is going to happen is caused by grown adults, who simply do not have the political maturity to get along and make the hard decisions.

Our history tells us we are better than this.

We had non-racial political elections before the Morant Bay Rebellion and before Governor Eyre and his bunch of tea-drinkers took away our right to self-governance. It took so much, including the liberty of our founding fathers, to get it back over 80 years later.

Independence came a decade later and two bitter rivals worked out their issues to achieve this milestone. And you guys cannot even sit down and make a decision that will save hundreds of innocent lives? This is not good enough and I am disappointed in all of you.

No one will win in this war. Neither party. One will blame the other because it did not support and the other will say it was the absence of a crime plan.

Elections will not be won or lost on this issue, just lives. Primarily poor people's lives.

This country has got to be the most classist in the world in the scant regard that is given to the murder of our poor.

Would this negotiation have failed if it were an increase in the loss of lives of our wealthy?

Then one wonders, who are the advisors of our leaders?

We are not the first country which has had to introduce a change in the rules because of a deadly threat that did not previously exist. Prior to 9/11, the full impact of Muslim terrorism had not been felt. But when it was, the Americans responded with the Homeland Security Act. This allowed for the detention powers that were required.

They did not just do it through one party. Both sides allowed the passing of this Act because they knew that steps had to be taken to save lives.

This is the type of action I am looking for from our Parliament: decisions to save lives.

So we are in a bad spot. What can we do?

Well, to begin with, put ZOSO on steroids. Declare all of Spanish Town a ZOSO. Keep the soldiers and the detention powers in that zone. Do the same with Montego Bay. It will not be as effective as the SOE, but it will save many lives.

Change the laws that govern the use of the anti-gang legislation, so that it becomes easier to charge and convict gang members due to its use an emergency piece of legislation.

End bail for gun offences.

Modify the law that governs the collection of protection money from vendors and taxi men. It is this money that is funding the Spanish Town gangs.

Make lotto scamming at any level, to include collecting the money from the remittance services, a no-bail offence, and deport more of the offenders to the United States.

I would say do not vote in the next election, but it is against my nature. But at least let your disappointment with our Parliament be known.

If there ever was a time to be angry it is now. So send an angry face to your Member of Parliament, irrespective of the colour of your party.

Jason McKay is a criminologist. Feedback:

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