Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Mark Wignall | New crime plan and established corruption

Published:Sunday | June 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM

In the online site 'design boom', the following is written about part of a Mexican community and the reversal of negatives. "In the city of Ensenada, in Baja, California, Mexico, police have placed an ally in the sky: a DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter drone.

"The drone, which is now used to patrol the city from the air, has reported striking results, participating in more than 500 arrests and a general fall of 10 per cent in crime. Its emphasis has been on home robberies, where the percentages have decreased by 30 per cent. The Ensenada police department ensures that the use of the drone has also helped in reducing response times in cases of emergency and even in arresting people committing illegal activities on the spot."

As National Security Minister Horace Chang unleashes his latest iteration of a 'crime plan', the better to convince us that there is not only action being taken but such action must be seen as speeding to a desired finish.

In the JamaicaEye programme where Government will partner with private-sector interests and businesses to maintain a centrally controlled CCTV coverage of potential hotspots, the Government should also consider drones that are either launched as part of a patrol routine or are treated like a call to 119; dispatch as needed but in much quicker response time.

 

CONVENIENT ESCAPE

 

It is too convenient as an escape route for our policymakers and influential leaders in the private sector to bleat about the backlog in the files of those seeking justice in our courts as the main dispenser of non-justice in Jamaica when, at the top of this society, a silent, though influential network of corruption is oftentimes the very author of what is seen as injustice.

What if your star lawyer is bosom friends with a judge? And some man was making crazy claims that you purloined his lands. He even has authentic documents that the land in question is his. Even though you stole it from him and was hoping that the idiot would be quiet and accept defeat through the lengthy and debilitating ordeal, he is still fighting.

So the man who stole your land has his powerful friends in the top ranks of the police force. Those men have links inside governmental organisations that can make signatures disappear and surveyor measurements increase. To his benefit.

So when this minister and those who went before him make their bold pronouncements of the latest initiative to fight back against criminality, they ought to know that many in this society are taking their words like baby mouth-water - just something to be wiped away.

 

Are constituents in SW St Elizabeth pleased?

 

Sometime late on election night in February 2016, the swing constituency SW St Elizabeth was confirmed for the JLP, every pundit, including me, who was expecting a PNP return to government saw new possibilities for the JLP.

And win the JLP did. Part of that ticket or the message that was widely conveyed to potential voters in the election was that whatever your life was like at present, a vote for the JLP would make it better.

While the JLP did not promise that it would make callaloo with white rice on a Sunday illegal, its general message was that it wanted the people to have proximity to steak and lobster on their plates and a 'new deportee' in the carport. Prosperity it was called. But, many of us knew better.

Ardent supporters of both political parties are doled out just enough to make them view their party, and especially when it is in government, as that butcher with the excess meat who is always surrounded by hungry dogs.

The butcher (government) cuts the lovely meat and hangs it high, enough for the people to see it but much too lofty for them to reasonably reach it.

The reader lives in the US where he owns a small business employing 30 people. But, he is a country man from

St Elizabeth. He writes, "I remember, as a child, the same thing. Black River = roaming cows. This issue has plagued the area for over 20 years.

"I urge you to bring this attention forward in hopes that the MP can finally decide to address this issue. It is a public safety hazard, that I heard resulted in a massive accident recently.

"I am deeply disappointed in Mr Green's representation of the area. A neglected constituency in my view. Lacking any redevelopment in the main town area and a shameful road network. I simply believe the people deserve better, they pay taxes, they are humans, they deserve better."

It will never be to MP Floyd Green's benefit for me to say that he has many colleagues on both sides of the House who share his basic approach.

 

UNFULFILLED PROMISES

 

That approach is, knowing what cannot be delivered to the people but deciding how much of it can be properly packaged for a believable promise. The people need hope. Hope can be promised but it doesn't have to be delivered just as long as another promise of a new iteration hope is made.

Many business people who I know are constantly imploring me that much more can be done to advance the welfare of the least among us but they fear that the politicians do not want to waste too much time opening the eyes of their constituents.

 

Garrison holders are what?

 

Ever since 'government building' and 'sites' and garrison constituency development took off in the late 1960s, those representatives who just keep winning because the constituency machinery and political tradition control the minds of the people learned early that people who settle for little should constantly expect little. That is the authentic but unstated mantra in the garrison.

Politicians would much prefer to fund a few scholarships per year in their constituency instead of launching out into a blitz in favour of better access to quality education and vocational training. Why go for building a set of people who will then potentially use their electoral independence to reject the politician?

Across almost all garrisons, the trend is the same. Great people have grown up in it and have escaped it to much better productive and fulfilling lives. But, the majority are held within the borders of the hard, hot streets of the garrison. They are the trapped ones.

Trapped by poverty and a life spent believing that laws are to be broken. Just like the powerful cabal at the top of society. If JPS locks off my light and I can do a throw-up and no one cares, why should I care, especially when I know that such action would not meet with the disapproval of the political representative?

Unless he is forced to go public and lie to himself, for the benefit of his constituents. Given the extent of choices available to those in a better financial slot than others, choosing to live in Cherry Gardens and Jacks Hills and Belgrade Heights is quite rational.

But what if I live off a lane in Waltham where I am paying $5,000 per month rent, nothing for water supplies, and I am stealing light? I would also love to live in the socially exclusive climate of Cherry Gardens, but I cannot afford it right now.

My political representative knows that I am trapped there, and, more important, he knows that my mindset is mainly invested in the hustle of the ghetto. One important part of that hustle ritual is voting for the same party every five years and marching in the same place for decades, seeing my children in trauma and feeling nothing except repeating the daily hustle. As another criminal plot is gestated.

- Mark Wignall is a public- and political-affairs commentator. Email feedback to columns