The continued malignancy of extortion at all levels of the Jamaican society is cancer that [must] be exorcized with rapid dispatch.
Over the last three decades or so, successive Administrations in Jamaica House comprising both political parties, have paid lip service to this serious issue, but have done precious little to eviscerate it once and for all.
Whether extortion comes from low-level thugs at the bus parks, or those who demand payment from business owners each week, to Government contracts that are held up, or end up with humungous cost-over-runs, it is a problem that both political parties have exploited rather than correct.
The House of Representatives could begin to send a strong message to would-be extortionists that this practice will not be tolerated by drafting and passing tough anti-extortion legislation that effectively locks up gangsters who are convicted under the law and place the prison on top of them.
The concept of a [Don] punk-ass criminal demanding payment from poor market vendors, struggling business people, or contractors on construction sites, is one of the most debilitating impediments to growth and stability in our country.
Extortionists back up their demands for illicit payments with [death], the government [must] reciprocate with life in prison, anyone caught engaging in this practice.
The Government can encourage Businesses to have video recording security devices to document those who would walk in and demand money from them.
The penalty must be so severe that those who would engage in the practice will think twice about getting involved in the practice and must understand fully, that when caught the trial judge is given no recourse but to sentence them to life in prison.
The practice of criminals demanding money from individuals and entities without work done for it is as old as our young democracy.
Over the last three decades, corrupt political leadership in Jamaica House has allowed the practice to go un-policed as a wink and a nod to the (militia-wing ) of their operations, to demand from hard-working Jamaicans payments for no work, at the peril of their lives.
It is a practice that runs in high places and deep trenches.
It has been a steady stream of resources that have nurtured and encouraged ordinary punks operating under the sanitized moniker of community leaders, but who are nothing more than common low-life criminal punks.
It is for those very reasons that the Jamaican Government has been unable to bring charges against any of the murderous criminals who have operated in the country in the last three decades. With all of its flaws, thanks to the United States criminal justice system some have been arrested and are facing real justice in American prisons.
It is simply unconscionable that poor people living in the rural parishes who purchase products, and pays to sell in the markets in the corporate area, would be forced to pay extortion fees to lazy punks living in Tivoli Gardens or any other enclave.
This practice must stop.
I am calling on the government to ensure that poor vendors are able to sell their wares in peace, so that they can support their families without having to worry about getting killed, because they have no money to dole out to men who do not work.
We must not go back to the days when Tivoli Gardens was a separate and autonomous entity from the Jamaican state.
Too many soldiers and police officers died annexing that enclave to Jamaica.
End the practice now.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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