Mon | Feb 17, 2020

Mark Wignall | And now for the resignations

Published:Thursday | January 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM

In the spirit of 'the buck stops here', accepting ultimate responsibility, it is not far-fetched that Commissioner George Quallo should resign over the New Year's Day road blocking Sandz party debacle on the Palisadoes Road.

But, the perception is held by many that Quallo's boss is the minister of national security, under whose portfolio the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) falls and probably occupies about 95 per cent of what national security is all about. Therefore, on the same the-buck-stops-here reasoning, it should not be Quallo resigning but Bobby Montague, the security minister.

We still have a few more steps up the ladder. If Montague's boss is Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, then the Sandz fiasco and the seemingly uncontrollable murder rate ought to be laid at the feet of Andrew Holness and, in the spirit of the buck stops here, it should not be Montague resigning, but the prime minister.

We are not finished yet. Although the prime minister is 'the first among equals' we are conveniently reminded during election campaigns that our politicians are our servants and we the people are the real bosses. To take that to its logical, if not farcical conclusion, Quallo should not resign, Montague should not and the prime minister should keep his job.

We the people as a great collective constitute the ultimate boss. We elected the Jamaica Labour Party which gave the nation Andrew Holness as prime minister. The prime minister presented us with Bobby Montague as security minister. Keeping the whole polity together, the Police Service Commission gave us George Quallo as commissioner.

Standing atop that polity, we proudly proclaim ourselves as the ultimate boss. For the rank indiscipline at all sectors of the society, for the breakdown of family life in many communities, for the poor socialisation of too many of our teenagers and young men, for the runaway murder rate, and the Sandz party fiasco we cannot place the ultimate responsibility on the shoulders of either Quallo, Montague, Holness or God.

The buck stops here and it begins and ends up right at our own feet. We the people are the ones who ought to resign. We have failed in our daily lives to inculcate the values of a good education and basic decency to the generation that we gave birth to. We wear ignorance like a badge of honour and laud violence just as long as it doesn't reside outside our front door.

We pay lip service to daily acts of corruption while under the table we play footsie with it and celebrate the material increases it gives us. We constantly point fingers and conveniently forget that three are pointing back at us.

It is quite okay to give our public officials hell when they screw up, and it is not good enough for the commissioner of police to be blaming his second-tier officers for the Sandz debacle. At the very least, he should have given us the details of what went wrong ALONG WITH an apology as head of the JCF. Then, in the absence of such an apology, the security minister should have apologised to us for the many hours that the roadway to our international airport was blocked, creating an international incident. And in the absence of those, the prime minister himself should apologise.

We the people are constantly grandstanding and cussing out our public officials - deservedly so, in many instances. But we seem to believe that we are immune from blame and responsibility just because all we do is dump our garbage in the public space, spit on the roads, maltreat our children and live like puss and dawg with our neighbours. We pat ourselves on the back because we do not actually pull the trigger and kill anyone.

We clam up when the gunmen in our communities make their mortal strike and then turn around and blame the police for a failure to nab the perpetrators.

We need to take a long, hard look at ourselves in the mirror. Collectively, we may not like what we see if we are even 10 per cent honest with ourselves. There are many good people in this country but many have resigned themselves to silence. Bad option.