Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Editorial | Ceding the State to criminals

Published:Thursday | February 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Unlike with Donna Parchment Brown, we hardly ever expect to be on common ground with Venesha Phillips, the People's National Party's (PNP) local government councillor and caretaker for the constituency of Eastern St Andrew. She is usually too crass and vulgarly partisan for our liking.

But on one issue, her intervention on the recent killings in August Town, in the constituency she hopes to represent, we are in congruency with Ms Phillips. She spoke against this growing habit of state-supported organisations of holding summits, round tables and peace negotiations with gang bosses and other criminal types to broker peace deals between their militias and communities.


Been here before


It happened in August Town before, as well as other communities. In the process, there is a derogation of the State and the elevation of the hard men of crime, who manipulate the spigots of violence, which, in August Town's case, were turned off for 2016. There were great celebrations that there were no recorded murders in the community for that year.

The problem, though, while the brokers of the 'peace' preened in the silence of quieted guns, the arms remained in the hands of those who always controlled them. They were back out in 2017 and even more loudly since the start of this year.

"How do you ask criminals to engage in ceasefire?" Ms Phillips reasonably observed. "That is craziness!"

Unless, that is, you consider them as coequals with a State which has eschewed its monopoly on violence.