Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Letter of the Day | Post Tivoli, police and media have work to do

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2016 | 6:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Even as we continue to condemn police excesses, we should ensure that the police are educated about how they may lawfully act in response to the increasing lawlessness of our society. Their situation is similar in some respects to that of the teacher who must find new methods of keeping order in a classroom, which is potentially more disorderly than before, without inflicting damage.

Nowadays, the police are often blamed for enforcing the law, and responded to with hostility. Updated training and strategies need to be in place to ensure that they meet current challenges with the appropriate levels of professionalism and the least cost to their health and lives. The last thing we want is a police force in retreat.

Second, media houses should be part of the solutions. The press should keenly follow up on the report and assist in seeing that the conclusions reached will serve the entire nation, and not just the interests of a few. Too often, in their apparent efforts to make the news salacious to many, the media focus seems to be on the residents and their calls for justice.

I join with those expressing the view that the lawless actions of civilians that preceded the incursion need to be condemned in a way which sends a message to the nation. This should also be true regarding other actions such as roadblocks that inconvenience the unsuspecting public and do damage to roadways.

We hear the calls of the residents, and we sometimes hear the response of the member of parliament, but no tempering voice balancing how the residents ought to have lawfully proceeded, or what consequences will follow their illegal activity. Media houses have a responsibility to educate, not just inform and entertain.

Finally, our leaders in governance, in the Church and in human-rights groups who carry influence should be uncompromising in letting people know when and why they are wrong. Too often, it seems there is a missing voice from the public sphere.

The same book that tells us to defend the cause of the poor (those needing just compensation and basic services such as roads and water should get it speedily) also tells us not to show favouritism to the poor or to the rich, but to deal fairly at all times (Leviticus 19:15). Let justice and truth be ours forever.

H. FISHER

Runaway Bay, St Ann