Mass incarceration, INDECOM, criminal rights – unpopular subjectsSunday, May 16, 2021
ARITHMETIC is defined as the branch of mathematics dealing with the properties and manipulation of numbers. That is from the Oxford Dictionary . Mathematics is defined as the abstract science of numbers, quantity and space, either as abstract concepts (pure mathematics), or as applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering. This also from the Oxford Dictionary .
It is my feeling that the study of arithmetic should be separated from mathematics as a whole, and that there should be an examination to test for proficiency in this discipline. This should then be the standard for entry into schools and jobs that do not require the entire mathematics syllabus to perform in the chosen vocation.
For example, why should a person studying history be barred from a university because he does not have maths? How applicable is this in the study of history? In fact, how relevant is this in the study of most areas of academia? You need arithmetic, because to be functional in most areas of study there is need for some computation, but algebra and geometry and many other areas are simply not relevant.
I would say that my thought process should be applied in the recruitment of police officers. We are 7,000 short and turning away applicants because they do not know the value of x-squared. Come on! How relevant is that in daily policing? I agree you need arithmetic, but math on a whole should not be a barrier in a time of crisis, or anytime for that matter, and you could cover the arithmetic levels in the entrance exam.
Now, as ridiculous and banal as this may seem to you, it is a very divisive statement I just uttered and I will receive criticism for it. Why? Because it is one of the things you just do not say, even if you think it.
Well, let me say some more stuff that you really should not say.
Mass incarceration is needed to win the war against the gangs. I have said it a lot. I have been criticised by good people and a few misguided ones, and I welcome their feedback. But let us discuss.
We have 10,000 gang members who are not in custody as yet. We passed a law making gang membership an offence, with high court sentences as punishment, but we only have 4,000 incarcerated now. So if we are successful in prosecuting all the offenders, we would need to incarcerate 10,000 more. So isn't that mass incarceration?
If the system did not plan to lock them up then why did they pass the law?
The passing of a law that has incarceration as a punishment for an offence that is being committed by a massive amount of people must have been intended to result in mass arrests. Unless the architects of the law did not really plan for its enforcement.
Now let us talk Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM). This is another divisive topic. If you support them you are labelled as being pro-criminal and if you oppose them you are branded as being a supporter of an unbridled police force. It is sort of ridiculous so let me give an opinion and you tell me which box you want to put me in. I believe INDECOM is staffed well and has talented, committed investigators who perform high-level investigations.
I think if they were around years ago, serious miscarriages of justice where police were charged for murders would not have occurred. This took place in the 1995 Rohan Faser, otherwise called Baugh, case when innocent policemen were dragged before the courts because of a ruling based on misinformation.
This was about a ceiling that the director of public prosecutions was told could not sustain the weight of a man that fell from it and engaged the police in a gunfight. This weight theory was debunked at trial but could have been settled with a basic inspection by the investigators. I do not think this silliness could occur now.
However, I believe that INDECOM was introduced at a time when thousands of Jamaicans were being killed, and to form an association to investigate the forces that were fighting the murderers was an insult to victims of the murders of that era.
I also believe that as an institution it is compromising its neutrality as an independent investigating agency if it accepts sponsorship, financing or handouts from critics of the country's armed forces.
I think I can hold this opinion that enforces both positives without being branded as taking the particular position of being an extremist. But again, it is a topic not really debated as it should.
My position on this got me in trouble before and made me an enemy of a particular jurist for whom I had the greatest of respect. I do not know why, but I just cannot see why as a nation we are so caught up with the rights of the men who murder citizens but couldn't give a damn about the rights of their victims. It may not seem that way, but it is pretty much like that. Let me explain.
Tell me one organisation made up of “uptown” residents who are involved in fighting for victims of crime? None, right?
Now tell me how many you count championing the rights of the killer. Look on the video of Robert Fletcher being killed in the wholesale like an animal. Why are his rights so less important than the man who shot him? I imagine you are saying it is not. So how is it there is an uptown-membered association that may champion that killer's rights, but none for Fletcher?
All murderers are as brutal as the coward in that video, so when you think of a gang member who is being defended by a criminal rights organisation, think of that criminal as no different from the man shooting Fletcher in the head. Then join me in my question: What makes this criminal's rights so important? I really want to know!
Political power of gangs
This is another area of which we do not really speak. The gangs are not funded by political parties anymore, so do not even think it. They are funded by extortion and Jamaican criminals living abroad. But, these gangs still can determine who wins political seats – which ultimately determines which government rules us. This is huge.
This means that we do not really have a functioning democracy. Do you believe that Arnett Gardens residents can vote for the Jamaica Labour Party if they want to, and that Tivoli Gardens residents can vote for the People's National Party if they so desire? They cannot. And this is only two seats of many more.
It is not the candidates' fault. So why can't we talk about it and brainstorm a radical solution, rather than pretending that criminal gangs no longer impact elections?
All of the above are things that are not said enough. I would like to tackle other issues like police shooting in the United States of America, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the hypocrisy of the international community when popular countries do unpopular things, but that is for another article.
However, I would like to close by saying that the persons in our history we respect did not win our affection by being respectful. They opposed, they said the unpopular things and they stood tall whilst being ostracised.
We now stand on their shoulders. Let us at least talk our mind as we balance up here.
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