Sure hope the PM isn't just grandstanding

Yesterday's banner headline spoke to Prime Minister Andrew Holness's latest move in the fight against rising criminality — calling a 'Crime caucus'.

The security chiefs have effectively been summoned to report to the Executive.

While this may be dismissed by the cynic as yet another talk shop, photo op, and waste of time, we in this space hope that this veritable meeting of the minds will result in the development of strategies that will impact the spiralling levels of crime facing the country.

Fact is, nearly 1,500 murders in one year is enough reason for a plan for 2022. What's more, a tally of 112 murders in the first 23 days of the year requires that the leaders in the crime fight come to terms with the fact that what is being done is not working effectively.

While we still hope that the twin issue of crime and violence will be treated in a bipartisan way by the nation's elected representatives, it is evident that that the political divide is hindering the effort to neutralise the marauding hoodlums. Therefore, to advocate for more Vale Royal talks, by itself, will more than likely not prove efficacious.

Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson is no doubt pleased with recent successes in ridding the streets of several guns and numerous rounds of ammunition, so when he faces Prime Minister Holness and the Cabinet he will not be expected to hang his head in shame.

Calls from some quarters of the society for his removal will, therefore, not gain real traction and ought to remain hushed at this time.

Major General Anderson has not been excessively fortunate in the hand he has been dealt, but he has brought a steady, measured approached to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) that must be respected.

Army chief, the recently appointed Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman should come to the table with new tools in the arsenal of the forces she now leads. She will definitely have to hit the ground running. There is no room for retreat.

When they meet with Cabinet the intention must be to chart a modified course, with additional resources, as grand statements and empty promises — the stuff in which politicians revel — cannot be the sole fruit of this conference.

Much has been said about the root causes of crime and the role of social engagement and community development, so the emerging crime plan must have these elements built in so that all bases will be covered. But such a time as this necessitates that all the available intelligence, backed by the requisite financial and human resources, be made available to the police and army to achieve the impact we all desire.

So, as health administrators and practitioners put their shoulders to the wheel to keep Jamaicans safe during this novel coronavirus pandemic, and the titans of business rally the factors of production to put the economy on the road to some recovery, it is the fervent, collective hope of the citizenry that this caucus will serve to invigorate the assault on crime and criminality.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness will need more than heart to make this happen, it will take will.

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