Columns

Use ZOSOs to dismantle garrisons once and for all

BY Fabian Lewis

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

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As the country grapples with an upsurge in murders and the Government moves to halt it, the response in the form of the zones of special operations (ZOSO) initiative was one giant step in the right direction. Even the Opposition People's National Party, that fought the legislation tooth and nail, came around to ask the Government to speedily implement it.

That stunning and embarrassing climbdown by the Peter Phillips-led Opposition demonstrated clearly that they opposed it for political reasons — nothing else. It also demonstrates the lack of clarity on Opposition policy to tackle any of the problems besetting this country.

But one of the most important things that can be done using the ZOSO plan, that is hardly getting any traction, is its ability to dismantle once and for all the many garrisons within this country. Save and except when we had the state of emergency in the run-up to the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, which the then Opposition opposed when it was brought to them to extend it to other areas, we have never had a better opportunity to tear down these eyesores that have blighted and corroded this beautiful country of ours.

The Government now has the chance to go inside these garrisons and tear them down; find, incarcerate or eliminate all the area dons, gangs and all the other societal parasites, and weed them out of the social, economic and political fabric of this country.

It is well known that these garrisons are often a law unto themselves. In them women and young girls can be 'sent for' at nights to sleep with dons or their cronies and be raped; fear is used to maintain obedience and, of course, deliver votes for politicians; and all other despicable actions that run contrary to good law and order take place. The police are afraid to go into these areas. They, therefore, operate like autonomous states, with their own rule of law (if it can be called that) and their own economic and social systems, all controlled by a don. These places are blots on our society turning out a never-ending stream of societal undesirables who wreak hell and mayhem on law-abiding citizens.

Apart from the few success stories that tell of people beating the 'ghetto trap' of poverty, crime and backwardness, there is nothing to celebrate about these places. So, the question must be asked: When will the State decide, once and for all, to exercise its rule over them? This is a golden opportunity to reassert the State's role of being the most powerful entity in the land.

Most if not all of the gangs raining down fire and brimstone across the island either were born in these garrisons or were inspired by these garrisons — it is what they know and use it to guide their moral fabric in some way, shape or form. It is time to go in and clean up these cesspools of lawlessness and backwardness and bring them fully under the power and rule of the State.

Garrisons were built by politicians — the old ones who thought Jamaicans were no better than animals to be herded into a geographic area and ruled like slaves. It's, therefore, ironic how some of these same politicians get up and lambaste Britain for its role in slavery, yet still they gleefully swear on the Bible every five years when they take the oath of office for a garrison in which people are nothing more than slaves.

The prime minister doesn't need the approval of the Opposition to take the ZOSOs across the island, unlike in a state of emergency. This time around we can once and for all clean up this country; rid it of the plague of garrisons. Be the new leader that abolishes garrison slavery, Andrew Holness. History will judge you well.

Let the Opposition prove to the Jamaican people that it is willing to walk the walk and not fight this plan. Mash down these garrisons and, like Moses said to Pharaoh: “Let my people go free.”

tyronelewis272@gmail.com

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