The continued bombardment of violence and killings in Jamaica is very disheartening to a nation, that towards the latter part of last year, had begun to see a reasonable reduction in murders. The problem is that the perpetrators of these heartless activities have really been great statisticians, in their own rights.
These scum, which are few but have significant influence adversely on our Jamaican society, have really sat back and have been analysing the probability of their getting away with their daily atrocities. They seem to have had a mental and thorough calculation of how unlikely it is for them to be brought to justice.
They know that of the thousand crimes or more, they commit each year, a mere handful of them will ever be charged and even worse, a fewer number (a miniscule number) of them will be brought to justice. The latter is due to the fact, it certainly would appear, that some in authority or those having access to incriminating materials (read evidence), are being paid to remove evidence, files, etc, or the overwhelming numbers of witnesses are just too scared to come forward, or just can’t do so with the risk of losing out on their regular remittances from these criminal thugs that they use to take care of themselves and children. This is a vicious cycle. One that must be cracked immediately, to change the way the criminals operate.
There needs to be radical changes in the way the powers-that-be conduct their affairs.
Here are some suggestions that will, directly or indirectly, strangle this vicious cyle of criminal stronghold on our beautiful nation:
Attach the personal information such as work, criminal record, charges and dropped charges, to the licence plate(s) of each registered motor vehicle owner in Jamaica. Accordingly, a data base should be built that can be used by a selected group of officers to track and gather information readily and easily. Any vehicle seen operating without a licence plate, should be immediately deemed illegal and be confiscated for investigations.Simialrly, if a vehicle is checked and its licence plate does not match its registered vehicle, the vehicle should be apprehended and the operator(s) investigated.
All police personnel, from constable to commissioner, should, every six-month period, make a declaration of their personal assets and valuables which exists in or outside of Jamaica.
Jamaican politicians should be subject to the same rules.
The wages declared, through this six-monthly declaration, should be confirmed by an independent and legal body furnished to do so. New legislations may be necessary to effect this, but this should not frustrate this very needed requirement to curtail corruption.
If from (4) it is discovered or uncovered that a police personnel’s/politician’s assets/expenditure for a given period exhibits discrepancies in relations to official, legal earnings, this should be turned over to the relevant body to be further investigated.
Finally, there needs to be a new zeal and concerted effort to bring to justice those who are accomplice to criminals’ wrongdoings. There should be no leniency, irrespective of the level of support, to prosecuting those who abett and aid criminals directly or indirectly in the proliferation of their crimes.
The Witness Protection Programme must not merely come on stream but must be sold effectively to the public so they can be assured that they will not die by the hands of criminals in coming forward to expose criminals and have them brought to justice.
I am somewhat more optimistic than the former Police Commissioner, Mr. Lucius Thomas, for the future, with respect to crime in Jamaica, in the year 2007. I believe that if the foregoing recommendations are adhered to, and Commisioner’s office acts on the intelligence it has according to reports in the media, the upcoming elections will be relatively peaceful.
Joshua Spencer is an educator, author and poet in Toronto