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Everald Warmington — The right man for the national security portfolio

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Today , Jamaicans are beginning to wonder whether the Government's approach to fighting crime is not mere pillow talk, kid gloves, and gimmicks. There has been no let-up on crime despite the Government's new anti-crime initiative dubbed zones of special operations (ZOSO) introduced over a month ago.

The truth is that the Government is using a conventional approach to fight criminals who are, in turn, using guerilla tactics to thwart efforts put forward by the leadership of the country.

It amazes one to see how quickly people who commit crimes are detained and arrested in big urban cities such as New York, London, and Toronto, yet in a country such as Jamaica people kill at random without impunity.

Now, one would have thought that, given the size of Jamaica's population in general and that of its small urban centres in particular, where most crimes take place, because everybody knows each other the crime problem would be one that could be easily solved. However, not so, as criminal activities continue unabated and this shows a disconnect between what obtains locally and internationally.

The fact of the matter is the Government has not communicated its vision on fighting crime clearly, and consequently there is not much buy-in from the population at large. For example, there is no memorable slogan or campaign about crime a la the “two is better than too many” population policy advertising campaign conducted in the early 1980s or similar to the “If you see something, say something” popular slogan in the US.

Moreover, communities, in general, have turned a blind eye to crime because of lack of trust in the security forces and fear of reprisal by gang members on any sign of contact with law officers. Consequently, the bloodletting continues without any light at the end of the tunnel, it seems.

Many, however, will argue that it's too early to evaluate ZOSO, but there is cause for concern with recent headlines such as: 'Cop's home attacked: Inspector among three shot'; 'Three more murders in Effortville, Clarendon'; 'Body of unidentified man found in Kingston'; 'Bartender killed on her first night on the job'.

Certainly, the security forces cannot be everywhere. However, people are everywhere but are crippled by fear — not only to report criminal activities, but also to be witnesses in cases brought before the courts.

That said, it requires leadership at all levels within the society to inspire and influence people in the fight against crime. However, the buck stops with the Minister of National Security Robert “Bobby” Montague, and ultimately the Government.

Now, the question that goes begging: Is “Bobby” doing a good job in providing the style of leadership that inspires confidence and demands the attention of the populace? Perhaps not, given his many missteps and puerile utterances.

The fact is, given the gravity of the crime situation in Jamaica, there is no place for a “choir boy” at the helm of the leadership in the fight against crime. Therefore, in any reshuffling of Prime Minister Holness's Cabinet, Clifford Everald Errol Warmington should be the spokesperson for national security.

Warmington was born in Brown's Hall, St Catherine. He did his early education at Brown's Hall All-Age School and St Andrew Technical High School before going on to the College of the Arts, Science, and Technology (CAST), today the University of Technology, Jamaica.

He became involved in politics early on in his life as the vice-president of Young Jamaica and the vice-president of the students' council at CAST from 1974 to 1978.

People view Warmington as feisty, sharp-tongued, rambunctious, and a firebrand. He may be all of that and more, but far more importantly, he is a winner. He identifies with the masses and seems to get things done.

And, as they say in officialdom, Mr Speaker, I wish to nominate the representative from the St Catherine South Western constituency, Everald Warmington for the office of Jamaica's minister of national security.

 

Davy Desmond and Yvad Billings write for The Readers Bureau. Send comments to the Observer or yvadbillings@yahoo.com.