Jamaica’s Governments Have Refused To Face The Hard Truths On Crime

It is a universally agreed fact that crime thrives where it is allowed to.
As it is in well-run nations in which democracy is built on the rule of law, so too are totalitarian nations conversant that crime must be suppressed at all cost.

Unfortunately for our small Island Nation of Jamaica, that memo seems to have got­ten lost in the shuf­fle.
Crime affects nations in vary­ing ways out­side the obvi­ous dan­ger it pos­es to life, lib­er­ty, and prop­er­ty.
Crime impov­er­ish­es nations and destroys gen­er­a­tions of peo­ple yet unborn.

The [Borgen Project] argues that Beyond the pro­tect­ed walls of the all-inclu­sive hotels, crime, vio­lence, and pover­ty plague the pop­u­la­tions of Caribbean nations. While tourism may be grow­ing back to pre-reces­sion lev­els in pock­ets of resorts, the major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to bat­tle with ris­ing rape, mur­der and pover­ty lev­els.

In 2013 Professor Anthony Clayton of the University of the West Indies, in a report pre­pared for the Ministry of National Security, called A New Approach: National Security Policy for Jamaica said, for exam­ple, that the direct med­ical cost of injuries due to inter­per­son­al vio­lence account­ed for near­ly 12% of Jamaica’s total health expen­di­ture in 2006, while pro­duc­tiv­i­ty loss­es due to inter­per­son­al vio­lence-relat­ed injuries account­ed for approx­i­mate­ly 4% of Jamaica’s GDP. If the lat­ter is added to the esti­mate of secu­ri­ty costs by Francis et al, then the com­bined total is 7.1% of Jamaica’s GDP.”

It is impor­tant to con­sid­er that seri­ous crime has con­tin­ued to rise each year since that report and has done so for decades. Which means that each year crime con­tin­ues to take a larg­er chunk of the nation’s gross domes­tic prod­uct (GDP) with no clear end in sight.

There is more data avail­able which shows in real dol­lars and cents just how crime is dri­ving Jamaicans deep­er and deep­er into pover­ty year over year.


Over the last sev­er­al decades’ var­i­ous stud­ies have been done which have all seem to con­clude that crime and vio­lence in the Caribbean and in Jamaica, in par­tic­u­lar, may be attrib­uted to pover­ty.
Of course, it is easy to set­tle on pover­ty if you want to be intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­hon­est or just plain lazy.

There is no deny­ing that if a per­son is hun­gry and has no mon­ey he or she goes into sur­vival mode and is like­ly to steal to sur­vive.
On the oth­er hand, if you look at the real dri­vers of crime, a‑la greed, gangs, drugs, depor­ta­tions cou­pled with the nations refusal to put a foot on the neck of crim­i­nals you begin to get a clear­er pic­ture of why Jamaica has con­tin­ued to have a per­va­sive and grow­ing crime prob­lem.


There are for­eign pub­li­ca­tions which have naive­ly writ­ten at length about Government’s attempt to arrest crime with­out an atten­dant deep­er under­stand­ing of the role politi­cians and pol­i­tics play in cre­at­ing and exac­er­bat­ing seri­ous crime pro­lif­er­a­tion on the Island.

Those of us who came out of the trench­es and have a deep­er under­stand­ing of how the Island inner cities and towns work, we are quite con­fi­dent when we say “no, pover­ty is absolute­ly not respon­si­ble for the mas­sive esca­la­tion of shoot­ings, sex­u­al assaults, and mur­ders sweep­ing the Island”.
Additionally, there are many nations with far low­er stan­dards of liv­ing which does not have Jamaica’s astro­nom­ic crime prob­lem.


It has been said that Jamaicans have a vio­lent pre­dis­po­si­tion.
I am not in a posi­tion to lit­i­gate that, what I do believe is that any peo­ple any place who are allowed to be vio­lent to each oth­er, with at worse, a slap on the wrist, may very well con­tin­ue to use vio­lence as a con­flict res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism.

Unfortunately, there is a regret­table mind­set in the coun­try among the most influ­en­tial that despite the seri­ous­ness of the crimes com­mit­ted, the offend­ers should be giv­en a slap on the wrist as pun­ish­ment for their actions.
That per­cep­tion sup­ports my posi­tion that seri­ous crimes in Jamaica and a lack of a seri­ous puni­tive com­po­nent, has pre­cious lit­tle to do with pover­ty and every­thing to do with rich and pow­er­ful peo­ple want­i­ng to stay out of prison for their own crimes.

This writer has con­sis­tent­ly artic­u­lat­ed a cohe­sive and cogent path for­ward to deal with this mon­ster plagu­ing the nation.
Among my sug­ges­tions are the need to pass tougher laws, bet­ter train equip and pay police offi­cers, build more cour­t­house and hire more judges from the pros­e­cu­tion’s side of the fence and hire more pros­e­cu­tors as well.


Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Paula Llewelyn recent­ly voiced frus­tra­tion at the grow­ing case­load her office is forced to han­dle with a staff which is not grow­ing to meet the demands.

Llewelyn argues that her plea for more pros­e­cu­tors have effec­tive­ly fall­en on deaf ears.
She revealed that she wrote to the Public Service Establishment Division of the Ministry of Finance plead­ing for six tem­po­rary posts to be approved, as her office was told that the min­istry was await­ing the com­ple­tion of a gen­er­al organ­i­sa­tion­al review before her request for addi­tion­al staff could be grant­ed. However, to date, she has not been giv­en the cour­tesy of a response.(jamaicaob​serv​er​.com)

As cas­es con­tin­ue to pile up at the DPP’s office, there are those who con­tin­ue to scape­goat the police about not doing enough to cur­tail crime.
So my ques­tion to those who make those scur­rilous and mali­cious state­ments is this, have you asked Government, past or present why they have refused to build cour­t­hous­es, improve the bail act, bet­ter train and pay police offi­cers among the things need­ed to be done?

The Island’s jus­tice Minister Delroy Chuck

The police are arrest­ing mur­der­ers at a mer­ry clip but their efforts are being thwart­ed by lib­er­al judges with their own agen­das.
Judges con­tin­ue to use the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem as a revolv­ing door, result­ing in more homi­cides as a con­se­quence.

While crim­i­nals are being let loose on the soci­ety and cas­es can­not get to tri­al because of the short­ages frus­trat­ing the chief pros­e­cu­tor, the Island’s min­is­ter of jus­tice is lob­by­ing for mur­der cas­es over five years to be purged from the court dock­ets.

When you con­sid­er the for­gone a bet­ter pic­ture comes into focus on where they are tak­ing the coun­try.
This is not about par­ty pol­i­tics it is about facts and fig­ures, nei­ther par­ty has clean hands.
Neither par­ty has demon­strat­ed a will­ing­ness to point the coun­try in the right direc­tion so that the hard work of tak­ing back the coun­try can begin.

It must be under­stood that despite every­thing been done at the moment if the poli­cies being employed are not com­men­su­rate with an appro­pri­ate res­o­lu­tion of the crime issue it is all for nought.
The poli­cies being employed can­not resolve the Island’s crip­pling crime prob­lem so you may form your own con­clu­sions.

The strate­gies need­ed to begin the south­ward trend in seri­ous crime once under­tak­en will leave no doubt in the minds of those who would engage in and or offer sup­port and suc­cour to crim­i­nals that this is dif­fer­ent.
Nothing past or present has occurred which would con­vince them that there is a seri­ous­ness by Government to put the brakes on their activ­i­ties.

The right strate­gies will inex­orably and cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly be clear to all that Jamaica has final­ly decid­ed to do some­thing about this prob­lem.
Thus far we have seen noth­ing which would sug­gest that there is even a recog­ni­tion much less a declared will to seri­ous­ly tack­le the prob­lem.
On that basis, crime will con­tin­ue to increase, more inno­cent peo­ple will, unfor­tu­nate­ly, become vic­tims in the process.

In order to begin the process, the gov­ern­ment must stand up so that those who would com­mit crimes may stand down.
That will only be accom­plished when the pol­i­cy is actu­al­ly made in con­sul­ta­tion with real Jamaicans and not with for­eign-fund­ed enti­ties with their own agen­das anti­thet­i­cal to Jamaica’s inter­ests.

The aver­age Jamaican who play by the rules is being sac­ri­ficed for the good of those who have killed time and again.
The human rights of the guilty super­sedes that of his vic­tim.
Unless we dis­pense with those who pros­ti­tute human rights as a means to make a name for them­selves crime will con­tin­ue to esca­late.

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