A coalition is the solution
Finding a solution to Jamaica's crime problem is not as simple as somemake it out to be.

Dear Editor,

The Government, in its infinite wisdom, has declared yet another zone of special operation (ZOSO), this time in sections of Kingston Central.

Predictably, this ZOSO will only provide a lull in the tsunami of crime that has overtaken the communities, but will not be a long-term solution. Jamaica's intractable and chronic struggle with crime and general lawlessness has no short-term solution.

Both major political parties are guilty of trivialising the issue with idiotic and comedic statements on the campaign trail and the time has long passed for political parties to stop pretending a change of Government is all that is required to tame the crime monster and have citizens sleep with “windows and doors open”.

Our challenge with crime and lawlessness is multifaceted, encompassing social, cultural, educational, economic, spiritual, and political factors. A focus on only one factor will not provide long-term solutions.

An effective response requires a coalition of stakeholders representing all sectors to devise and implement both long-term and short-term solutions. This coalition must have no illusions and realise lasting change could take as long as a generation.

If our politicians are serious about tackling the problem, they have a crucial role to play as our political system has played a major role in fostering the environment conducive to criminality and lawlessness.

One needs to look no further than so-called garrison constituencies and the many politically motivated informal communities to see the political contribution to the problem. The situation is akin to starting a fire that is now out of control.

We also need to address the manpower requirements of our constabulary as it is ironic (or is it?) that, although Jamaica consistently has the highest incidence of crime in the English-speaking Caribbean, we have the lowest ratio of police personnel to population.

Some will argue that crime is our number one problem, but I posit that crime is only the major symptom of our sinister practice of politics and departure from our Christian (some will no doubt prefer religious) foundation.

Wayne Plummer

wayne.r.plummer@gmail.com

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