Constitutional change needed now!

Constitutional change needed now!

Monday, January 25, 2021

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Let this be an open letter to all Jamaicans, but especially Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding, all parliamentarians, Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, Director of Public Prosecution Paula Llewellyn, and all the judges in Jamaica.

I would like to see these mentioned officials get together and come up with a way to amend the Jamaican Constitution so that we can create new laws that will stick, especially laws that will bring the gang and their murderous violence to an end.

Here is what I am asking them to do: Come up with new laws that will change the sentencing system, where Jamaica's justice system will now move to a minimum mandatory regime, where the possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, the use of those weapon in crimes, murder, extortion and corruption will be fully address.

What I am looking for from these leaders is to have a minimum sentence of 20 years for just simple possession of a firearm, and 25 years for the simple possession of the first bullet, and an additional year for every extra bullet found in such a person's possession. We can no longer be blind to what's going on and continue to give a slap on the wrist of these violent criminals.

We also must include their immediate families members. If a family member does not report his/her relative known to be involved in criminal activity, the Government should bill the relative for room and board and clothing and security as long as their relative remains behind bars. Put pressure on the relatives of criminals to turn them in. This will be harsher if they habour or hide criminals.

And we cannot feel sorry for them by claiming human rights or anything like that. When these criminals kill anybody, those who are killed have lost their human rights forever; never to have a chance to regain it.

No more concurrent sentencing; make criminals realise that they won't be coming back out for a really long time and this will get their attention.

We also must cut out the bail system for these criminal's gang's members, there must not be any bail for any of them no matter what. It's time for us to get serious about bringing about the end of gangs and gang warfare in Jamaica and begin repairing our society so that we can all live in peace.

We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different result; one criminal attack that causes death must be seen as one death too many, no longer should we accept these so-called statistics published by the police, who seem to be happy with hundreds of murders each year.

There comes a time when we have to take a different approach to how we do things. These times call for amendments to the constitution.

The national identification system (NIDS) is needed up and running. Registration should be mandatory. Let's do it right, without demanding too much private info. While each citizen must have a photograph in the system, there's no need for a fingerprint or retina scan or so on. What's important on that ID must be one's home address, and it must be updated when it changes. This way we know where everyone is.

As we are on the constitution, let's place patois in the mix too. It should become one of our two official language, which we must use as a springboard to Jamaicans learning to read and write. We must give them that foundation. Let's imagine what Jamaica would be like if we had given our people that foundation from 1962, the year of our Independence. Just envisage little children writing and reading their own language with their siblings and friends.

It's full time that we have true patriotic Jamaicans who are willing to lay down their lives to stamp out corruption at all levels. We need to have laws that will bring the hammer down and convict corrupt officials and business people. This scourge is helping to dwarf our country, and we must get a grip on it, just like we must get a grip on gangs.

May the new year bring us all the blessing and the peace of mind that we all are longing for. May the most high bless all of us in Jamaica, land and people we love.

Robert Clarke considers himself a “true Jamaican”. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or

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