Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Letter of the Day | Scamming, fatherlessness and a state of emergency

Published:Thursday | July 7, 2016 | 7:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

As I see it, the murder rate, especially in St James, is out of control. Lottery scamming, stemming from the well-established, get-rich-quick mentality has led to a historic amount of bloodshed in the western region. Concerned for the parish, seemingly under siege by criminals, Senator Sinclair has called for the commissioner to implement a state of emergency in the parish, and rightly so. When criminal elements increase in activity, especially when loss of life is the result, the police force must respond with equal and opposite force. The commissioner's response to Senator Sinclair is quite surprising; he seems to imply that the police can't help the situation, but that it is a social issue, and so must be addressed socially. Interestingly, every crime has a social dimension, though we rarely see this kind of discussion from the police force. But is the police redundant and non-impacting? I certainly hope not!

Crime has to be approached from two angles: root cause elimination and prompt police and legal activities. We have to treat the root causes; prime among them is fatherlessness! The former minister of national security, Peter Bunting, in a recent article, while pointing to statistical evidence, emphasised the disastrous role that fatherlessness plays in fuelling violent crime and stunting national development.

The Unite for Change initiative must be applauded, continued and, if possible, be made to target sharply the culture of fatherlessness in Jamaica. I urge Minister Montague to promote honourable and faithful fatherhood as the most important long-term strategy for crime reduction and sustainable development. People often think low literacy and poverty are the greatest contributors to crime, the statistics are saying otherwise.

The scammers are very intelligent, but very greedy, hence it is a social issue, more specifically, a values and morals issue, which has grown into a serious legal issue. The police commissioner cannot say in this terrible situation though, when we have nine persons being shot in one evening - three dying - and criminals parading as they are, that police work cannot help. Our police force is essential to the reduction of crime.

 

A SOCIAL ISSUE

 

It is true that police work alone, which is naturally reactive, is not sufficient for sustainable crime reduction, but in the acute phase when criminals are running wild, people are being killed almost daily, and citizens are crippled by fear, a stronger police presence must be an important aspect of the anti-crime strategy. Both a long-term social strategy and an acute police presence are essential. It seems clear that a greater police presence is necessary in St James - a state of emergency may be the necessary acute response. At the same time, it cannot be overstated that without successfully tackling the root causes of crime, specifically fatherlessness, we will always struggle with a climbing murder rate. that is a national emergency that we cannot afford to ignore any further.

I would like to take the opportunity to encourage Prime Minister Holness, who himself espoused the importance of fatherhood in his inaugural address, to appoint an expert task force to address the vital issues of fatherlessness as a matter of national security.

Daniel Thomas

President

Love March Movement