Tue | Dec 12, 2017

George Davis | Government impotent in war on crime

Published:Tuesday | November 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Two weeks ago, my elder sister and her husband were awakened from their sleep by gun-toting thugs who had invaded their home in northern St Catherine. The couple, who are devout Christians, must have prayed heartily before going off to bed because, mercifully, the scum chose not to pull the trigger.

They did, however, rough them up before ransacking the home and leaving with all the electronics and valuables they could carry.

Do understand when I say their ordeal has not filled me with any more dread about living in present-day Jamaica than I had before. On June 21 this year, I wrote on these pages that I was certain the one-eyed God would be turned on me by criminals at some point. That was neither a death wish nor an indicator that I was involved in the kind of activities that make criminals kill each other. It was simply an acknowledgement that in this country, where the gun is the weapon of choice in most of the near 1400 murders to have been recorded up to the time of writing, nobody is safe from a bullet or few.

As this Government battles to introduce necessary legislation where road traffic and national identification are concerned alongside the bread-and-butter issue of trying to grow the economy, it's fair to say that 22 months into its tenure, Andrew Holness and his team have yet to find the formula to suppress violent crime. The easy thing to say about the Holness administration is that it has done nothing to tackle crime. That will roll off the tongue easily, and in a climate where the lives of close to 300 people have been snuffed out in one parish, St James, before Christmas carols started playing on radio, not many people will defend the performance of this administration on crime.

But if you examine what the national security minister said in his presentation in the last Sectoral Debate and the five pillars on which he had plonked the Government's crime-fighting strategy, there is a clear link between those policy prescriptions and the attendant law or regulations to give effect to the measures.

What would be dead-on accurate to say about the Holness administration and the climbing homicide numbers is that precious little of what they've tried so far has worked. The Jamaican people were led to believe that where crime is concerned, things would be different under this JLP administration. But Jamaica House must know that though the evaluation is still ongoing, the conclusion can already be drawn that Holness and his team are failing miserably to deliver on the promise of a safer Jamaica for all.

 

CONTRASTING WORDS

 

Politicians hate when journalists are diligent and contrast their past words and performance with their current deeds. I revel in exercising this diligence because it proves to our leaders that contrary to the cliche, talk is definitely not cheap. I wonder if Mr Holness recalls these words from the 2015-2016 Budget Debate.

"We have a crisis on our hands. We wake up each day to horror stories of gruesome murders. The elderly are not being spared; pregnant women are not being spared; our children are not been spared. Our children, Mr Speaker, the future of the nation, are being murdered in numbers no civilised society can tolerate. "

We have a crisis on our hands. Mr Speaker, it should be the primary concern of any government to protect its citizens and shape an environment that enables all to enjoy freedoms, rights and the pursuit of life goals. It is a fact that when the PNP is in power, the crime rate spirals out of control. It happened in the 1970s, it happened again in the 1990s, it happened in the early 2000s, and it is happening now."

Those were your words, Prime Minister, spoken when you were opposition leader. It's funny how your words then about crime and its damaging effect on Jamaica have now become a dungeon from which you and your Cabinet cannot escape in a country where, on average, four persons are murdered each day.

Simple question, Prime Minister: How much more a guh dead before yuh sort it out?

Selah.

- George Davis is a SportsMax executive producer and talk-show host. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.