Mon | Dec 11, 2017

JaRistotle’s Jottings | Folly on the mount

Published:Thursday | September 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

As Jamaica surpassed 1,000 murders for 2017, courtesy of the 200-plus gangs wreaking havoc on the citizenry, it came to pass that King Andrew and his wise men[tors] decreed that the first zone of special operations (ZOSO) would be Mount Salem, complete with its 12 gangs and 54 murders for the year. But then the king discovered that his men[tors] had fed him washings of trenton and the sermon on the mount became a folly. The intelligence was flawed, the tactics needed optics, and execution was shockless and aweless.

And then came Maas Delroy with the gun amnesty. Him nuh seem fi realise seh gun business is a cash cow. Gangs not only use guns, they rent them out for big bucks. Woe to anyone who loses a gun much less fi go turn in one! Seems our politicos are drinking from a potent wishing well.

Did we really think that any criminals would be sticking around in the ZOSO? Dem gone long time. Chances are, dem peeps inna di police or politics did done prips dem from before. To make matters worse, I can bet dat di security forces nuh know who dem ah look for. The members of the so-called 12 resident gangs remain faceless wonders who move at will, hidden in plain sight. By now they are probably lying on the beach in Negril smoking a spliff and drinking rum - just another anonymous face.

 

POT CAN'T CUSS KETTLE

 

Our leaders repeatedly fail to do what is necessary to eradicate the criminals that are responsible for the continued slaughtering of our people. It really begs the question 'why'?

A recent cartoon in the Observer newspaper depicting the two major political parties lying in bed with the seductress (gangs) sums it up. I would have added another player, the police, but he was probably hiding under the bed at the time. This is our problem.

The politicos cannot do what is needed because they are afraid of losing their don-beholden voter base and having the criminals spill the beans about their dubious relationships. And so they baffle us with nonsense, and dazzle us with half-assed 'solutions'. Perhaps we should give Philippine President Duterte a working vacation on The Rock, let him show how it's done.

The police force, being a haven from which many criminals in uniform operate, is severely constrained. Senior cops cannot rein in corrupt subordinates because of skeletons hidden in dark closets. Those that are not involved cubba dem mouth because dem fellow squaddie will nyam dem food without batting an eyelid.

It appears the police intelligence officers' activities are more under-the-covers than undercover. The duds that so embarrassed the king need to go count goat ah country. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. Intelligence requires people with the appropriate capacity and integrity, not the genetically connected and curry favourites that seem to end up in these positions.

 

BAND-AID SOLUTION

 

Despite the social-intervention aspects, the ZOSO approach is not a sustainable solution to our crime problem. It is asinine to have uniformed and easily identifiable members of the security forces operating within a prescribed area, searching for faceless wonders. It is asinine to think that criminals don't migrate to zones of minimal operations (ZOMOs). It is asinine to think that the residents of the ZOSO will readily cooperate with the security forces when corruption is so rampant. Do not lose sight of the fact that many of these residents are family to the gangsters, and have to live in the ZOSO after the security forces depart. The security forces must operate as if all Jamaica is a ZOSO.

The criminals being sought must be made known to every member of the security forces and the wider public so that anywhere they go someone will recognise them. Run and they will be spotted. With nowhere to hide, the criminals become the hunted, an endangered species.

I am sure we are aware of the television programme America's Most Wanted and the success their publicity activities have reaped. So why not 'Jamaica's Most Reviled'?

In the meantime, I pray that while the ZOSO continues in Mount Salem, the people there will enjoy a period of public safety and security even while the rest of the country continues to sweat.

Keep cool.