Search for solution to crime getting more desperate
Going by the sensational utterances over the past week by the prime minister, a Member of Parliament (MP), and a veteran journalist, the search for a solution to violent crime appears to be getting more desperate.
Indeed, given the viciousness of the criminals, the need for radical solutions is urgent and one hopes that in the end more will be done than said — as against the plethora of empty words that have constituted the fight against crime thus far.
Stung by the murder of students Justin Perry and Nahcoliva Smith, who were gunned down while on their way home from school in a taxi in Salt Spring, St James, Prime Minister Andrew Holness could barely contain himself.
“This country needs to stop sending mixed signals to criminals. They’re not going to return any grace you give them; they are not reasonable people. They are terrorists and they must be treated as such,” he told a post-Cabinet press briefing in the wake of the killings.
“This is not an ordinary crime. This is the worst of the worst… I am not here this morning to stir up the nation for vengeance… Today we are going to respond not with vengeance… but to use the law with blunt force on them,” the prime minister declared.
St Ann South Eastern MP Lisa Hanna was no less fired up by the crime situation, suggesting that the major political parties should “blockade” themselves with experts and crime reports inside Gordon House for at least a three-day period to hammer out a plan to address the spate of violence in the country.
Ms Hanna left no doubt in her weekly column in the Sunday Observer’s The Agenda that she too is feeling the desperation, urging the prime minister to “drop everything and call all of us to Parliament for three to five days”.
“We are to emerge from the House with a plan to solve violence in our country, with the attendant legislation to match. The Vale Royal talks are taking too long, and we are tired of seeing the post-PR pics,” the former youth and culture minister appealed.
“Call us to Parliament to do this particular work for the people we serve. Bring all the reports and the experts; let us make decisions together as one Parliament. Broadcast all the proceedings live to the general public so they are aware of the deliberations,” Ms Hanna begged.
For his part, veteran Jamaica Observer journalist and author Mr Desmond Allen, expressing his personal opinion, called on the media to establish a Media Crime Watch to receive information from the public on criminal activities for onpassing to the Office of the Commissioner of Police.
Mr Allen, who gave the distinguished public lecture at the University of Technology, Jamaica, after 50 years watching Jamaica’s evolution, declared: “Our politicians have lost the battle against crime. They have run out of ideas…”
In addition, he said, the media should appeal to the political parties to remove crime as part of their partisan political agenda and lead their supporters to unite in a national campaign against crime.
The views expressed by the trio may be controversial and need more meat on the bone, but they reflect the feeling of the country. Let their suggestions be a call to action to stem crime. Everyone needs to be on board now.
The alternative is too hard to contemplate.