Attitudinal Change Critical To Jamaica’s Response To Crime…

We are liv­ing in stress­ful times, whether the sky is falling or we are mere­ly inun­dat­ed with infor­ma­tion that it is falling may be a sub­ject for debate. What I do know is that grow­ing up in the 70’s was a lot sim­pler than life is today.

Nations grap­ple with myr­i­ad issues, from pover­ty to wars, from crime to cli­mate change, the issues are real and they demand imme­di­ate action.
In some cas­es, the issues some nations face are not of their own cre­ation.

No coun­try is total­ly respon­si­ble no coun­try is total­ly blame­less.
Factories and foundries of large indus­tri­al nations churn out the goods and spare parts we refuse to live with­out, poor impov­er­ished peo­ple in Africa and oth­er parts of the world dec­i­mate forests for fire­wood and char­coal. Ultimately we all con­tribute to the decline, just at dif­fer­ent lev­els.

Jamaican police rake in huge gun haul…

With the com­plex issues, we face it makes sense that we do not add to the prob­lems we are forced to deal with by cre­at­ing unnec­es­sary prob­lems and allow­ing oth­ers to devel­op into intractable and exis­ten­tial ones.
I have always har­bored an unhealthy dis­dain for politi­cians because I fun­da­men­tal­ly believe they are in most cas­es liars who will do and say any­thing to get elect­ed.
Their rapa­cious desire to hold onto pow­er has been crit­i­cal in shap­ing the direc­tions of far too many coun­tries.
Generally, the best inter­est of the larg­er pop­u­la­tion is sac­ri­ficed for the inter­est of small­er cliques with their own nar­row inter­ests.

Nowhere is this more evi­dent than in my native Jamaica a once beau­ti­ful peace­ful place with prob­lems, like every­where else in 1962 when the British hand­ed over con­trol to the natives.
In the 55 years since we have accom­plished much but our accom­plish­ments pale in com­par­i­son to our tal­ents and abil­i­ties.
Rationally we must con­sid­er what might have been had we remained under colo­nial rule?
As unpalat­able as that thought is and as putrid as the taste is think­ing about this out loud it is inescapable in light of how things have turned out.

Jamaican flag

Truthfully my default dis­po­si­tion is to blame the polit­i­cal par­ties which must take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the envi­ron­ment they cre­at­ed since 1962.
Nevertheless, I can­not ignore that oth­er fac­tors have shaped our per­cep­tions and real­i­ties lead­ing to our present cir­cum­stances.
Our Schools and Colleges, busi­ness sec­tor, our church­es and NGO’s, our pri­vate and pub­lic insti­tu­tions and each and every home must share in the blame for the present predica­ment in which we find our­selves.

A recent report revealed that the vast major­i­ty of our edu­cat­ed young peo­ple would leave the coun­try if only they had the chance.
This is not new, in 2015 anoth­er such study revealed that most Jamaicans would pull up roots and move to anoth­er coun­try if only they could.
How then does that square with the Jamaica 55 cel­e­bra­tion and the brava­do about how great Jamaica is?
Both polar points can­not be true.

The intractable crime prob­lem del­ug­ing Jamaica should not be one of the prob­lems the small Island of 2.7 mil­lion be deal­ing with today.
Unfortunately, years of fail­ures at all lev­els have result­ed in a behe­moth that admin­is­tra­tions of both polit­i­cal par­ties are unwill­ing to deal with out of fear of the fall­out.

Dozens of shells expend­ed from auto­mat­ic weapons is the rule rather than the excep­tion.

The police are pro­ject­ing that mur­ders could spi­ral to as high as 1,526 by the end of this year if the cur­rent trend of 4.1 homi­cides per day con­tin­ues.

A break­down of dai­ly mur­ders issued by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) on Monday showed that a total of 893 homi­cides have been report­ed since the start of this year, with the high­est num­ber, 157, com­mit­ted in June.

A total of 138 mur­ders were record­ed in May, while 136 were report­ed in July, 123 in January, 118 in March, 109 in April, and 86 in February. The August fig­ure stood at 26 up to the time of the NIB report.

According to the report, the year-to-date increase in mur­ders was 159 or 21.7 per cent com­pared to the same peri­od last year.

The mur­der fig­ure since the start of 2017 is show­ing an increase when com­pared to the cor­re­spond­ing peri­od in 2016,” the NIB report stat­ed. “Similarly, the cumu­la­tive fig­ure for the last three days (August 4 – August 6, 2017) shows an increase of 1 or 9.1 per cent when com­pared to the cor­re­spond­ing peri­od in 2016.”

Over the peri­od, the high­est num­ber of mur­ders – 117 – were report­ed in the St James divi­sion. This was fol­lowed by Westmoreland with 85; Clarendon with 84; St Andrew South, 76; St Catherine North, 75; Kingston West, 59; St Catherine South, 56; Hanover 40; St Andrew Central, 38; St Ann, 38; St Andrew North, 38; Kingston East, 29; Manchester, 26; Kingston Central 19; St Elizabeth, 14; St Thomas, 12; Trelawny, 12; St Mary, 11; and Portland, 4.

Commissioner of Police George Quallo

These num­bers though stun­ning and indeed fright­en­ing may not tell the full sto­ry.
They rep­re­sent the bod­ies which have been found and the reports which have been ver­i­fied by law enforce­ment.
There is a large amount of miss­ing per­sons who have not been account­ed for. Additionally, in many cas­es, peo­ple are seri­ous­ly wound­ed in attacks on their per­sons they do not die imme­di­ate­ly as a result of those injuries but suc­cumb to those injuries lat­er.
Police blot­ters do not reflect those in the homi­cide data.

The Police can be more metic­u­lous in track­ing those lat­er deaths from their own inves­ti­ga­tions, bring­ing the data up to speed to reflect in a more com­pre­hen­sive way those delayed homi­cide cas­es.
The lat­est report released by police does not include the cas­es of felo­nious wound­ings and attempt­ed mur­ders which ought to be processed along­side and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly with the homi­cide num­bers as well, in order to ful­ly grasp the seri­ous­ness of the vio­lence.

PM Andrew Holness

The most con­se­quen­tial issue influ­enc­ing crime on the Island and the way it is being respond­ed to is the fail­ure of the pop­u­la­tion to ful­ly appre­ci­ate that it is a clear and present dan­ger.
The dan­ger­ous nar­ra­tive which has infect­ed the body politic is that there is crime every­where and that all peo­ple have to do is steer clear of cer­tain areas.
Tell that to Mr. Ramdial who was gunned down in his car as he drove on an uptown city street.
Tell that to the count­less peo­ple who were not involved in lot­to scam­ming yet they lost their lives at the hands of mind­less killers whose claim to fame is an auto­mat­ic weapon, bul­lets to spare and a desire to kill.

The idea that only peo­ple who engage in lot­to scam­ming or peo­ple who are mixed up in crime are get­ting killed is not cut­ting it any­more.
The notion that keep­ing one’s eyes closed and lips sealed is a way to avoid get­ting killed is insane in as much as it is retard­ed con­cep­tu­al­ly.
That kind of sur­ren­der to the worst ele­ments in soci­ety is a tes­ta­ment that as a coun­try Jamaicans have run out of ideas and are cry­ing out for help.
Nevertheless, the atti­tudes of Jamaicans as it relates to what is nec­es­sary to squash those who would dis­rupt the soci­ety is a large part of the rea­son the prob­lem per­sists and is get­ting worse.

The real truth of the mat­ter is that clos­er to 2555 Jamaicans are being mur­dered each year.
If that num­ber does­n’t ter­ri­fy you then mul­ti­ply that by ten. If the idea of over 25.000 dead peo­ple over a decade does not absolute­ly jolt you this arti­cle is not for you.