Thu | Feb 27, 2020

Mark Wignall | Not buying it, Minister Chang

Published:Thursday | May 16, 2019 | 1:44 AM

Our minister of national security, Dr Horace Chang, is obviously trapped in politics and what it spews. A lot of hope, optimism and paper plans which include him attaining his own political divinity, which is hardly ever likely in his crazy ministry.

Recently, the minister spoke with hope about his plans for fighting crime and his aspirations for the immediate future. He is, of course, a politician, and, I am forced to admit, a damn good one. How do I know this? Dr Chang has convinced me that he has the solutions to the ills mashing down this country. That is, of course, my own attempt at making a joke.

What Chang obviously knows from his constituency experience is the fact of gunmen and their natural inclination to seek common association with the local political directorate.

But, here is the thing with Dr Chang. With all of the fancy plans he has for ‘solving crime’, he must also know that PR is important. Great.

But, is that it? Were I Dr Chang, I would have been forced to tell the people of this country that I have high hopes for bringing down the level of violent crime. Soon. What should I say, being a politician?

A car pulls up at a well-populated spot in St Andrew. Two men alight and four people suffer bullet wounds. One dies. And many of us say to ourselves that that is just the way Jamaica is.

I entirely understand the trap that is holding Security Minister Chang in his recent statement that he has confidence that his crime plans will soon bear fruit. But let us face it.

Minister Chang, here are some key questions. Considering that you must have been briefed repeatedly about matters in the JCF leadership, have you ever considered that the force needs upending? That, I believe, you have considered.

When a car drives up to a transportation hub where there would be, on average, 250 people walking, talking, selling, buying, drinking liquor and smiling, and trying to make another buck, and gunmen exit and open fire in ‘broad day light’ and shoot those who were a part of those on the hit list, Minister Chang disappears in my eyes.

Security Minister, I must admit that your PR is better than Bobby’s was. But, Minister, how far can you go with it, as Bobby Montague must have eventually discovered?

Most Jamaicans love this country. They approach their relationship with Jamaica like the intimacy with a lover. We see the outward beauty of the paradise, or lover, but we conveniently admit that we do not see the ugly, painful boils. Love requires that we become mentally blinded.

With three major national security operations in the western end of the island, it is obvious, certainly to me, that it is the gunman who has the police on the run.

The armed killers have a few leaders who are exceptionally bright, and one of the earliest traits they learned is to make links inside the JCF. I am certain that the entire security apparatus knows that the greatest impediment to solving organised crime is its involvement with rogue elements in the JCF.

“Him father have a dream an tell him sey if him go a Chancery Street, dem gwine kill him,” said three people to me last Wednesday of the young man who was horribly shot up.

“Chancery Street a di death strip an police caan stop it. Forty yards a road and five man lick dung ova three years. An police involve inna it. And you know whey me a talk bout. Di extortion.”