Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Garrison politics has ruined Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Ronald Mason's condemnation of the garrison system in his column, 'Questions remain in the Tivoli commission' (February 23, 2015) is another open window into our decaying political parties.

Not enough can be written or spoken about the garrison system in Jamaica. Our slide into lawlessness, crime, social and political decay can be traced to the advent of garrison politics. Unfortunately, our news media, churches, civic organisations and security forces turned a blind eye, out of fear or indifference, to the growth of this cancer that was slowly overwhelming us.

Garrisons became the bases for organised crime, extortion, gunrunning, drug trafficking and murder under the cover of political protection. Gangs ruled by fear and benevolence. They came with the gun in one hand and lunch money in the other. Dons ruled with impunity and garrison citizens were dependent on them for survival.

In October 2002, Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States, upon his visit to the island, warned us that "Jamaica's garrison politics was a disgrace and blight upon the country". We did not listen then and we are still not listening now.

R. OSCAR LOFTERS

Kingston 8