No, Mrs Malahoo Forte, you can't ask journalists to locate gunsTuesday, September 28, 2021
YOU'VE got to hand it to the Ministry of National Security. They issue the nicest statements after every killing or major shooting, promising to bring down brimstone and fire upon the heads of gunmen.
Regrettably, these statements are almost always full of sound and fury, signifying little or nothing. The killings go on and the murder rate is as stubborn as ever. Then another killing happens and they issue another news release, sounding just as ferocious.
The latest statement came after a number of policemen were killed over the past two weeks and in the wake of the gun and arson attack this Sunday which claimed the lives of two men in Granville, St James.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang and Attorney General Mrs Marlene Malahoo Forte visited the crime scene in the beleaguered Granville community and the PR department of the ministry told us this, among other things:
“We note with concern the number of our police members who have been killed over the past two weeks, and are also incensed by the number of private citizens murdered by malicious thugs across the country.
“At a time when nothing appears certain, given the ravages of the [novel coronavirus] pandemic on the economic fortunes and general health of the country, we want to assure the nation that no stone will be left unturned in our effort to find those responsible and have them brought before the courts, convicted, and imprisoned for the crimes they so blatantly committed…
“…Let it be known that an act of violence against one of our police personnel, in or out of uniform, is an act of violence against the State and a declaration of war against everything that is good, wholesome, decent, and lawful in this country. No country, certainly none that is hoping to develop politically, economically, and socially, can afford this level of crassness and unadulterated terror by a section of its population upon the rest of society…
“However, we will not relent, nor will we resign [they usually use resile] from facing and destroying this adversary to give Jamaica the best possible chance at succeeding as a peaceful, harmonious and friendly nation, achieving its goals and to bring prosperity to all its people.”
Worse than this statement — which they dust off and re-issue every other month — was the call by the attorney general on journalists to investigate where gunmen hide their guns after a shooting.
Mrs Malahoo Forte might wish to reconsider her very unwise and downright dangerous suggestion, asking journalists who are not trained for this to put themselves in harm's way and possibly interfere in police work.
Indeed, the police have always advised citizens not to take on gunmen but to report their activities to them and allow them to do their work, something of which the attorney general seems completely unaware.
If these politicians were serious and meant what they say in these nicely worded statements, they would do the only thing left for them to try to get control of crime — come together with the private sector, churches, and civil society and mobilise the citizenry against the gunmen.
Our political representatives seem to know something about each other that they dare not work together to fight crime in this country. Now, that is something journalists need to investigate.