Breeding dons - JDF west boss tells why MoBay is fertile ground for gang-bangers
The ultra-lucrative lotto scam has made millionaires out of almost anyone indulging in its deadly undertaking, and with that comes the potential for donmanship, according to head of the Jamaica Defence Force in western Jamaica Colonel Daniel Pryce.
"Every man down there has the ability to be a don because he can just go and scam and he will have a mint of money to buy his tools of the trade for his nefarious acts. And so, it is very easy and needs a very different approach to be taken (in solving crime)," he argues.
He made the prognosis at The Gleaner's Jamaica Under Labour Stakeholder's Forum held recently at the newspaper's North Street offices.
The infamous scam has been the bane of most well-thinking Jamaicans and has accounted for the loss of countless lives in its vice-like grip on young men primarily from St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Trelawny, and St Elizabeth to a lesser degree. But its power to influence is not lost on the members of the security forces.
There were 335 murders in St James last year, 66 more than the 269 recorded in 2016. Combined, western Jamaica accounted for 564 murders last year alone of the 1,616 people killed across all of Jamaica.
Pryce identified crime and violence as a social problem and argued that as a country, "we did not get here overnight, and, therefore, we should not expect to have an overnight solution".
"It is going to take deliberate planning and careful execution to take ourselves out of this quagmire of crime and violence that we now are facing. The fact that it is a social problem, we do not advocate that it is the police and the soldiers that are going to provide the total solution to it," he stated.
DIFFERENT DIMENSION TO CRIME
"In my short tenure in the west (western Jamaica), I have now seen a different dimension to crime and violence. When you look at the impact of the lottery scam and the fact that fighting crime in Kingston is totally different than fighting crime in the west, it's a totally different beast," Pryce reasoned.
He said that youth engagement has to take on a different dimension to tackle young people who are already major scammers while in schools.
"So we all need to be in this fight against crime. Let us not play around with it; let us not give lip service to it and let us really put our hands and hearts in it. It's everybody's fight. We need to exclude the bad elements in the society and expose them," said Colonel Pryce.