Gordon Robinson | Crime dog chasing tail
So, the carousel continues as George Quallo becomes the next sacrificial lamb (oops, sorry, commissioner of police).
As a semi-retired civil advocate, I've had little to do with Commissioner Quallo. I did deal with him once, many years ago, when he was at Half-Way Tree. He was courteous, helpful, sensible and decent, so I've no doubt he's as good a choice for the job as any other JCF member. I wish him well. I hope he secures his full pension as soon as possible, then jumps off the carousel before he develops terminal vertigo.
As Quallo assumes office, murders are up 21 per cent some 2 1/2 months after the Government unveiled its 'preventative detention' cure for crime and its 'zero tolerance' for domestic violence and a month after Phase II, namely 'zones of special operations' was announced to help crack down on crime.
This is what I wrote then:
"Lord, deliver us! ... Another period of excessive police brutalisation of poor citizens under the guise of 'zero tolerance'? This IS the Booklist Boyne Solution. It won't work.
This monster we spent 40 years nurturing can't be killed overnight. This Jamaican crime monster is like a multi-headed hydra. Booklist Boyne's Solution seeks to cut off the monster's head, but it only ensures that five more grow in its place. Jamaica's crime monster must be attacked at its root, and our most effective weapons are commitment and patience."
The result? Murders up 21 per cent. Police commissioners have leapt on to and off the carousel for 40 years. Murders go up, up, up! Maintenance of police stations has been neglected to the point where a mild drizzle destroys important documents left on officers' desks and turns indoor plumbing into sewage rivers.
Meanwhile, murders go up, up, up! Policemen and women are trained to fight fire with fire then given matches to fight forest fires. Very few can read a spreadsheet or collate and interpret intelligence. Murders go up, up, up! No police station employs a computer programmer, nor is it equipped with computers loaded with apps capable of assisting detectives. Murders go up, up, up!
Flipping and tripping
Since 1976, we've tried the Gun Court ('Red because it's dread'); indefinite detention; the Suppression of Crimes Act; Eradication Squad; ACID; MOCA; POCA; SOCA; CISOCA; anti-gang legislation; anti-money laundering legislation and on and on ad nauseam. While we're unable to enforce even the flipping anti-litter law, murders go up, up, up! The last minister gave up and sought divine intervention, but God was too busy answering millions of prayers worldwide, mostly from casino guests. Murders still went up, up, up!
So, now we're getting preventative detention and zones of special operations. Yawn. Guess what'll be the result? You got it. You there in the back of the class reading a Marvel comic! No result. Zero. Nada. Nothing. Murders will go up, up, up! No matter who wins the musical commissioners contest, the following won't change.
1. The JCF will remain CORRUPT beyond redemption;
2. Policemen won't have the educational capacity to out-think criminals who also own more modern facilities
3. Government will continue, through a corrupt system of governance that encourages bandooloo AND a broken system of education that forces our children to pass exams but fail the test of life, to create a society of vulgar, violent, vicious, corrupt sociopaths whose first reaction to the mildest adversity is war; who rape children; habitually lie, steal, extort and scam while 'entertainers' big up these pastimes.
Look, if Government thinks it can't afford to do what it ought to know is the right thing to do to start curbing crime, just tell us straight up. I detest the notion that we're all fools who can be fed a regular diet of 'preventative detention' whenever there's a spike in crime and we'll be satisfied. Maybe Booklist is satisfied with tough talking accompanied by smoke and mirrors, but the majority of Jamaicans want TRUTH.
We KNOW how to curb crime. I've written about the fundamentals until my teeth hurt. On January 22 ('If you really want to solve crime'), I repeated:
"The only viable solutions are to:
1. Properly equip the JCF ... . Close superfluous ministries and divert funds, if necessary;
2. Separate every corrupt cop from the JCF ... . Abolish the army and convert it into a new, competent, honest police force;
3. Disarm the citizenry (politicians included) and disband the Firearm Licensing Authority. Why's an 82-year-old JP carrying a gun? Does he INTEND to arm criminals?
4. Fundamentally reform education, including a swift review and dismantling of the teaching-by-rote system. Create police liaisons in schools ... ."
But government doesn't want to curb crime. It prefers to play politics. Why else would National Security Minister Robert 'Uncle' Montague choose the exact time of Quallo's assuming office to complain that the political directorate has no input in selecting a police commissioner? This is unprecedented. The JLP had no similar complaint when Owen Ellington was appointed. Did you note the haste with which Peter Bunting congratulated Quallo on his appointment, gushing like Kanye at his wedding to Kim.
What's Uncle trying to say? Is it that Quallo falls short on qualification? If so, what qualification? Is there no green in his closet? Or is he a closet Comrade? Uncle, WTF? While you play politics, children are murdering children; employees chop up employers/fellow employees alike; businesses can't afford to pay over statutory deductions, thanks to an oppressive economic climate; nobody's debit card is secure; road rage is the new normal; and corruption the nation's new lifeblood.
In light of this cringing, crippling faux pas, Uncle better not try to tell me he hasn't the resources to begin to give Commissioner Quallo what he needs to curb crime. I can find a half a billion dollars without batting an eye. Abolish the office of governor general and scrap plans for Jamaica 55. Use the $500 million you'll save to buy some modern equipment for the police.
Let's get this show on the road!
May she lose
Good God almighty! MUST we celebrate 55 years of Independence while cowering in fear from criminals? Why do we still genuflect to an expensive Queen who gives not a flying fig about our chronic insecurity?
Speaking of Queenie, I see British PM Theresa May called a 'snap election' for June 8. Oh, dear. She's relying on polls that give Conservatives a comfortable lead. Polls, schmolls! Those same pollsters said Britain would vote against Brexit; PNP would win the 2016 election; and we should be obsessing about President Hillary Clinton.
There are a few facts of life Theresa has allowed to escape her. First, her party LOST the Brexit plebiscite. The revolt was led by traditional Conservative Party supporters, namely the elderly Brit aghast at what Britain now looks like. The youth, who opposed Brexit, are hopping mad at May's Conservatives for allowing that vote to slip through their buttered fingers. They don't blame themselves for being too lazy to vote in the rain while older, stiff-upper-lipped Britons channelled Churchill, braved the fickle British weather, and voted against Muslim and Pakistani immigrants with Trumpesque determination.
So, May has alienated traditional Conservative supporters AND opponents' goodwill. Furthermore, in Scotland, her name is Mad Untrustworthy Dame after persuading them to vote against Independence with promises to stay in EU. Cassius, Brutus and the gang are lining up long knives clutched tightly.
Meanwhile, Labour, the butt of every intellectual British comedian's jokes, has painted a nostalgic picture of Britain that'll resonate. Labour's 10-point plan to "transform and rebuild Britain" sounds eerily like 'Make Britain great again'. Corbyn promises full employment; a secure homes guarantee (rent controls); security at work (more union/workers' rights); secure National Heath Scheme and social care (no more health-services privatisation); National Education Service (including universal childcare; progressive restoration of free education for all; and guarantee quality apprenticeships/adult skills training); a secure environment; return the public to the economy (worker participation; community councils); cut inequality in income and wealth (including gender gap); produce an egalitarian society; and peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy.
Wooiiiii! Shades of Joshua! Finally, Theresa May failed to consult experts in the occult effect of numbers (aka numerologists). Everybody with a passing knowledge of numerology knows the number 8 is associated with sorrow, loss and humiliation. Yet she calls an election for June 8? Ta-ta, Theresa!
Peace and love.
- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@