Bungling the War on Crime

 It has come to us that for the first time in the history of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, a Superintendent of Police has been detained on charges of corruption. Supt. Harry “Bungles” Daley of the St. Catherine North Police Division, is still under heavy police guard following his arrest last Thursday in what was termed an “anti-corruption crackdown”, after being under surveillance for some time.

While his arrest is cause for celebration for some, it may be more prudent to reserve all comment and soberly await the outcome as this landmark apprehension goes through the legal process.

Many Jamaicans have become jaded by proclamations and pronouncements that vaporize after the passage of the proverbial “nine days”, since it is becoming increasingly evident that the current administration, as were its predecessors, are only interested in cosmetic applications for fighting crime, chipping away at the trust and the last shreds of hope of a weary populace. How serious are the authorities in this war on crime and violence? Let’s look at a novel approach to drugs, for one.

Traveling through Taipei’s airport, I was struck by signs at measured intervals throughout the length of the busy concourse that blared “Drug Trafficking Punishable by Death!” “Drug Trafficking Punishable by Death!” There was no avoiding these signs; they demanded your attention, and although I was confident I had nothing to fear, I just couldn’t shake the feeling of apprehension as I stepped up to the poker-faced customs official who didn’t break eye contact. I wondered if Immigration had targeted me for a search simply because of my Jamaican passport, since the officer had pored over the fifty pages in painful detail before wordlessly pointing me in the direction of the search agents. I muttered the usual whiskey tango foxtrot under my breath, stepped right up and opened the cases.

After it was determined my luggage and person were free of any offending substances, I saw the faintest glimmer of a smile, and was ceremoniously escorted to another agent for final clearance, before I was dismissed with profuse apologies and a polite bow from the officer. I wouldn’t have wanted to witness them apprehending an offender.

Perhaps the message is the strong, no-holds-barred approach we need to take in all our crime-fighting endeavors, and let the chips fall where they may. Airports all over the South Pacific send the same unequivocal message to would-be drug traffickers, and although the approach may not completely put an end to the trade, it is a definite deterrent.

I thought of the piecemeal, half-baked efforts to curb drug trafficking through Jamaica’s ports, and wondered if the authorities would ever get this serious, and then decided against the idea. Signs like these in our airports? Not a chance. They just would not be aesthetically acceptable, what with arriving and departing tourists, who may have chosen the sun-drenched reggae Paradise to enjoy unencumbered, the pleasures of unnamed substances, and whose return visit we so eagerly and at all costs anticipate. Can’t turn them off, can’t hurt their feelings.

So the charade continues.


     

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