Scant regard shown for CMOC opportunities
Dr Horace Chang

Although the Government, via the Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, is claiming that the Crime Monitoring Oversight Committee (CMOC) has served its purpose, in actual fact, CMOC is just starting and has just begun to get into the core aspects of its function.

In fact, until the two major political parties in Jamaica collectively, seriously, and genuinely tackle the crime situation together, then the role of CMOC will have hardly begun because one cannot deny that this must be CMOC's key underlying objective.

The absence of both Government and Opposition representatives at CMOC meetings strongly indicates the indifference and scant regard that both parties have for the committee and, by extension, for its objectives. And the Government, with zero attendance since January, appears to be leading the charge of resistance and non-collaboration.

At this point, regardless of claims relating to the upgrading of the police and the implementation of SOEs, there is no doubt that the proliferation of crime in Jamaica is being facilitated if not promoted by the lack of collaboration between the two parties with regards to the issue. And it is a grievous act of omission for any or both of the parties to resist a collaborative effort to work collectively towards a solution.

The two political parties must work together to tackle crime.

The solution to the crime problem in Jamaica depends, firstly, on the honest recognition and acceptance by the two parties of the reason for, and the path leading to, the current crime situation. In this regard, it should be noted that there is no way that one of the most peaceful countries in the world could, in 40-odd years, achieve the highest murder rate in the world — Jamaica's great "accomplishment" — unless there was facilitation from the top. And, as we approach the 60th anniversary, the legacy remains strong as we continue to be ranked among the top ten, worldwide, for homicide rates.

It is very clear that, until the two parties seriously collaborate on how to deal with crime, nothing will happen and crime will continue to get worse.

When serious and genuine collaboration begins, then the beginning of the beginning of the solution will begin, and the onus is, and will always be, on the Government in power to get the process going.

The boldness with which Dr Chang can claim that, by choice, he attended none of the CMOC meetings since January of this year is consistent with the delay and lethargy with which the Government (apparently also by choice) has acted regarding many of the agreed CMOC objectives.

Apart from anything else, CMOC provides a forum and platform which both parties can use to join forces to face the crime problem which, for any politician with the slightest sense of national pride, must be a tremendous embarrassment.

It is clearly to a country's discredit that a committee needs to be formed outside of the Government itself to try to encourage, prompt, boost, or embolden said Government to take the needed actions to confront the country's greatest challenge. And it is even more of a discredit that, when such a committee is formed, the Government chooses to ignore it or label it as being of little consequence.

Far worse than these, however, are the inevitable outcomes that will continue to result from these grievous acts of omission, in which inter-party collaboration regarding this growing national challenge is resisted and avoided.

It is time now, and has long been the case, for the parties to place the well-being of the country as their number one priority.

And it is also time, and has been for a while, for the supporters to require that their party collaborates seriously with the opposing party, and for party supporters and leaders to move beyond so-called party loyalty to make the nation's well-being the absolute priority.


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