Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Daniel Thwaites | Who hacked Boyne’s account?

Published:Sunday | January 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Part of writing a column is extinguishing terrible ideas, although it's an unending task because they sprout like weeds. That said, it looks as if these skilful hackers didn't only break their way into America's Democratic National Committee's email accounts and servers, but that they're also at work in Jamaica.

Look at how one of them infiltrated Ian Boyne's email account and submitted a couple of disgraceful newspaper columns over the last few weeks. Speaking for myself, I knew at once that it couldn't possibly be the reverend.

Anyhow, this Boyne imposter abused Ian's byline to tell us that we should invite the Government to abrogate some human rights as a necessary part of stemming the crime wave. Who knew that attacking crime with obeah would be only the second worst idea floated since the start of the New Year?

The first column asked, by way of title and guiding sentiment, 'Is Holness tough enough?' to delete some human rights from Jamaica as necessary to give the security forces an unfettered hand and boot. It thereby aimed to goad Mr Holness into answering and proving 'yes', for which man - which human being - asked that question will say 'no'?

"Are you tough enough?" is one of those inquiries I warn my children about as it's ordinarily a precursor to something fantastically stupid. It ranks among the famous second-to-last words like: "Are you man enough to try it?"

 

Famous last words

 

Typically, that kind of dare will be followed by what's known in the industry as 'famous last words', like "OK, people, watch this!", or, speaking from personal experience that led to hospitalisation and my first son (it's a long story), "Hey, hold my beer and CHECK THIS OUT!"

Another part of writing a column is doing public service, so here are a few other 'famous last words' that should ring alarm bells:

- My brakes are fine.

- Nice doggy.

-Naawww, sah! It's a likkle flesh wound! No need for nuh hospital.

- I'll hold it and you light the fuse.

- What does this button do?

- Calm down! Of course. I disarmed it!

- This doesn't taste right.

- Don't be so superstitious.

- No, bredren, this stuff is completely natural and safe, man. That's why dem call it 'herbal'.

- Don't worry, dis nuh contagious.

- Yes, I'm single.

- These pills are too small. I gwine tek couple more to mek sure it work.

- I do.

Anyway, enough of the famous last words and back to Boyne. What we need is a comprehensive crime plan coupled with a willingness and seriousness of purpose to implement it, not inducements to savage madness.

All this before demanding that the Government actually go ahead and enforce the laws we already have. Plus, how about seriously tackling the personnel shortages in the police force? The training deficits? The communications and response infrastructure? The endemic court delays? The infrastructure to incapacitate known criminals?

Want to be brave, Bredda Boyne? How about encouraging the Government to give the prison offer a second look instead of dumping something Jamaica obviously sorely needs because of purely political considerations?

People talk about the near-miracle of steep crime reduction in New York, and there are fierce debates about the root cause of the decline. One thing is for certain, though: A determination to catch and lock up habitual and repeat offenders played a decisive role in pacifying what was considered an ungovernable city.

Hey, we should do that! Oh, wait. We can't. Because we don't have the facilities to do it. Unfortunately, Jamaicans became entranced by the balletic choreography between David Cameron and the then opposition leader, Mr Holness, such that we got all super-sensitive and found that we were too morally delicate to accept money for a prison from our former colonial overlords.

 

Insensate sensitivity

 

Gimme a break! Too sensitive to accept money from Henglan, but not too insensitive to lock up four or five Jamaicans in a 10x15 cell with a slop bucket for sanitation. This must be the most convenient and callously insensate sensitivity ever.

Hence, it is to a Government incapable of taking an obviously correct step towards better law enforcement because of political pressure fermented by its own forces and rhetoric that Boyne wants to trade in the liberties of his fellow citizens? Parson, don't talk fffffu-lishness inna mi ears!

The real problem, by the way, with Boyne's 'solution' is that he has misdiagnosed the motivation for why there are a million hurdles and obstructions. He says:

"The politicians don't have the guts and courage of leadership to take the tough decisions they need to make to send a signal to criminals because talk-show hosts, articulate, well-spoken defence attorneys and other human-rights fundamentalists will clobber them if they dare to act decisively and tough."

Look, although I am, by ideology and temperament, sceptical of many who find a soap box and declare themselves 'civil society', that's mostly because I think they're uncivil and only slightly connected to the society. If you want real civil society in Jamaica, go to church.

But it's not civil-society activists that deter the Government from acting decisively to stem crime.

The real reason, as I see it, is that there are too many politicians directing our governmental infrastructure who are criminal, quasi-criminal, connected to criminals, or at least far too mindful that having access to criminal capacity is an embedded part of the electoral infrastructure that they need. I don't say 'all', but I say 'too many'.

Therefore, if Jamaicans ever summoned the will and determination to clean from the head of the streams, we would be surprised at how quickly the water downstream could become clean and potable once more.

- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.