A reminder to the PSOJ and other donors — punish the politicians

We in this space have never been easy on Dr Horace Chang. Indeed, we have never been easy on any security minister. Why would we be in the face of the paltry results they have to show for their stewardship, and the dubious distinction of Jamaica being one of the most bloodthirsty countries in the world?

Of course, we are not foolish enough to blame Dr Chang or any other minister of national security, for crime. The construction of Jamaica's formidable crime infrastructure has come over time, and if anyone is to blame, it's all of us — those who actively participated and those who sat passively and watched.

But as the ceaseless flow of blood continues to overwhelm our small nation, we must admit that our politics has failed miserably to provide the leadership critical for bringing crime, especially murders, to manageable levels.

The situation is getting more and more desperate because almost everything that has been tried has come to naught. It is unimaginable that we could have recorded 16 multiple murders already this month, with eight days to go.

The latest sign of this desperation is the statement by Dr Chang which is being widely interpreted as him calling for the police to shoot to kill when confronted by armed gunmen.

"Any time a man takes up a gun after a police officer, I expect Commissioner [Mr Antony Anderson] to train them [so that] when him fire, he must not miss," the security minister was quoted as declaring at a ground-breaking ceremony for a new police station at Frome, Westmoreland, last week.

While a few wimpish human rights activists have condemned the minister, it is noteworthy that he has the backing of Corporal Rohan James, the chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, who did not mince words in a radio interview, saying: "The minister said nothing wrong. People in this country are hypocritical and we must cut the crap and the nonsense."

Another sign of the desperation is Opposition Leader Mr Mark Golding bristling over the Private Sector of Jamaica (PSOJ) again nudging the political parties to meet behind closed doors and hammer out a final consensus agreement to fight crime.

Mr Golding says the PSOJ seems to be obsessing that consensus depends on the Opposition, and he in turn points the finger at the Government for not supporting the Vale Royal talks.

Mr Golding is right that the Administration needs to make it clear, through words and actions, that it is still in favour of the crime consensus and the work of the Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee.

At the same time, the PSOJ has been calling ad nauseum for the two parties to show more commitment to the consensus process that has the backing of the entire civil society. Out of this can come a sustained programme of uniting the people against crime.

We wish to remind the PSOJ and the others who fork out money at election time to finance the incessant political curry fest, that they are not without the ability to bring the party leaders to the table.

As we said in our editorial of August 30, 2022: "If the private sector is serious about getting the politicians to agree to fight crime together and provide leadership to the country, then it should tie such an agreement to the campaign donations. That would concentrate the minds in a way nothing else can.

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