Govt Must Ensure That Extortion Is Not Allowed To Continue…

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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