Death penalties, states of emergency, lives of the poorSunday, December 05, 2021
The recent proclamation by Prime Minister Andrew Holness regarding the death penalty for gun possession and also his recent statements on the rights of victims and the time for that to be considered, shows an interesting shift from the popular politics of dissing the armed forces and treating gangsters like poor little dears who are misunderstood.
This at the same time whilst the leader of the Opposition is challenging the extension of the state of emergency.
So do we have two diametrically opposing positions or do we have two leaders who just want to oppose each other? Let us discuss the death penalty for gun offences.
Well, we know that we do not take seriously rantings made on political platforms. Also we know that the judicial system would challenge it, but I must confess, I like how his thought process is going. Have you ever heard of 'aim for the sky you may reach the tree top'?
This could be the beginning of a return to a Gun Court and a Gun Court Act that sent away gun offenders for decades. This, if properly marketed, could change the culture of our gangs.
It also could put away killers before they really started carrying out their plans. Then there are the many killers who are convicted for gun offences that could get sent away for sentences similar to the ones they would have got for a murder.
The possibilities are looking really good that we may wake up and really fight this like we did before, when criminals became victims and police became the prey. Maybe this madness that began in 1993 could end.
Now this would require a Bail Act that removes bail as a right. That requires constitutional change, which I keep saying is possible with the imbalance in Parliament right now. But will this or any Government really go that far to save poor people's lives?
Let us face it, the only time I can recall a monumental shift in Jamaica's governmental structure due to violence was in 1865 when we lost internal self-government. That also only accorded because of the massacre of hundreds of white British persons and a few locally-born descendants of Mother England.
Now almost 1,400 poor people dead in one year does not qualify for a State of Emergency. I can only say I am bewildered as to why the Opposition would take this stand. Mark Golding is a brilliant man, a good man as well. This move makes no sense.
As far as I am concerned, if you are going to oppose a parochial state of emergency because it only works parochially, and not nationally, then I would expect you to suggest one nationally, not to oppose one totally.
Then what is your suggested solution to save the hundred dead scheduled for December?
The usual 'police must build public confidence so that witnesses will come forward', gentlemen, that is not going to happen. So stop preaching dreams whilst brains are being blown out of Jamaica's poor.
The December lives will only be postponed due to the power of detention. The affected will only be the killers. And opposing it will just result in more poor people's death, maiming and misery.
We are where we are, it's that simple. And yes, political parties started this madness that they now have no control over. So politicians, stay out of the way of the experts you hired.
Irrespective of your party, you are not experts. I have not seen one of you on your bellies under fire. You are not qualified to determine the steps needed. The military and police are the experts and they say they need a state of public emergency. So give it to them!
The prime minister is at a point where he speaks of the impossible to stop this small segment of Jamaica's population that is destroying the country.
I do not fault him for his passion, irrespective of the impracticality of his suggestions.
We are in a crisis now. Constitutional change is not a short-term objective, but it can be achieved in time. The impossible must become the doable.
Eventually we must take steps to accept the mass incarceration of Jamaica's gangs, the militarisation of Jamaica's civil society and the non-acceptance of garrisons.
But first, the largely unaffected will have to see it as it is, a crisis, no less a crisis than if the 1,300 dead were lawyers, doctors and politicians.
Then maybe radical measures would not be giggled at by the patronising and the pompous.
Blood running out of 1,300 human beings over one year trumps academic discussions on our precious democracy. If this is what it comes with it is an absolute failure.
If it requires one more dead child, whether mine or some mother's own in a squatter settlement then it is not worth it.
We often look up to Singapore and preach their accomplishments against our failures.
Always remember, Singapore executes drug dealers.
They did not get to their position of progress by spewing romantic garbage, they took radical decisions, decisions that we choose to ignore.
I urge both parties, get back in a room and iron out the issues. This time, bring in the experts, accept you do not know one damn thing about combatting gangs and give them what they want.
For once, pretend poor people's lives matter and we do not need another Morant Bay Rebellion demographic to make the big decisions to save lives.