Contributor Conrod Tucker
High-Level Crime Plan to Combat and Control the Crime Epidemic in Jamaica.
Since the beginning of the year, Jamaica has been under siege by marauding gunmen who have murdered almost 200 people, and we are only in the month of February. If this murder rate continues, it will easily surpass last year’s 1616 total, and could potentially become a record year for homicides in this country.
Last year, the parish of St. James recorded an astounding 355 homicides, the most ever recorded by a single parish in a calendar year, which prompted the Andrew Holness led government to invoke a limited State of Emergency, now known as Enhanced Security Measures in the parish.
However, in other parts of the country, the killings have continued unabated and several communities have emerged as hotspots. The normally quiet town of Linstead and its environs in the parish of St. Catherine have accounted for 7 homicides since the start of the year.
August Town, in St. Andrew, did not record a murder for 2 years, but since 2018, several murders have been committed in that community.
St. Catherine, led by gang activities in the old capital of Spanish Town, has the dubious distinction of having the most killings so far this year.
Clarendon could become the next St. James if criminals are allowed to continue to commit brazen murders in the parish. It is in the top three for murders committed in the country this year. Although the Enhanced Security Measures in St. James, appears to be working, it is only a temporary solution. What is going to happen when the Enhanced Security Measures are over?
Are the citizens of Jamaica to think the blood-letting in that parish is going stop? And what about other parishes where several murders are occurring daily? Consequently, I believe the time has come for the government to strategize and implement a comprehensive crime plan to combat and control the crime monster that has taken over the country for many years.
I was stunned that the Minister of National Security Robert Montaque openly feuded with former Commissioner of Police George Quallo. This absurdity was more magnified because the country is in the middle of a crisis with record amounts of people being killed daily. That was not the time for any well-thinking government to even contemplate removing the Commissioner of Police, much less forced him into retirement.
The government, the Police High Command, and the JDF should be working on a plan to curtail the violence that has affected so many of our citizens. The seriousness of the problem has prompted the U.S., Canada and Great Britain to issues travel advisories to its citizens about visiting Island. The following is a 12 point high-level crime plan that should be implemented ASAP.
1. Establish a non-partisan civilian board whose members have experience in law, criminology, community relations, and is responsible for recruiting, interviewing, hiring and terminating the contract of the Commissioner of Police. This board should not have any political affiliations and should be given full autonomy, free from any political interference in managing all aspects of their responsibility. The maximum term limit for the board members should be 5 years.
2. The Commissioner of Police contract should be a maximum of 5 years and he or she reports to the board. The individual should have the experience as a crime fighter in Jamaica and understands the nuances and complexities of dealing with Jamaica’s volatile crime problem.
3. Hire an ombudsman to be the watch-dog for the police board, the ombudsman should be non-partisan and given full autonomy to investigate the board activities, free from any political interference. The ombudsman must provide annual public reports that are non-classified in nature, detailing the actions of the board.
4. Police area and divisional commanders should do minimum 2 years stints in the parishes they are transferred to build relationships and gather intelligence.
5. Employ a zero-tolerance policy to rid the force of corrupt personnel, because there are criminal elements in the force.
6. Outfit the police force with drones to covertly identify criminals activities.
7. Reduce some of The powers of INDECOM, they should be allowed to investigate the police but no authority to press charges. Pressing charges should only be under the purview of the DPP.
8. Increase the use of technology especially in forensics and intelligence.
9.Reimplement the death penalty.
10. All firearm-related convictions should carry a minimum custodial sentence of 10 years.
11. Establish better community relations with the public, so that people will be encouraged to talk to the police.
12. Increase training opportunities for young people to enable them to find meaningful employment after their training is complete. This would act a deterrent to them joining gangs and becoming criminals.
The opinions expressed by our writers are their own, they do not necessarily reflect the views of chatt-abox.com or it’s owners.