Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Boyne is right

Published:Wednesday | January 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I am in agreement with the sentiments expressed by columnist Ian Boyne - the Jamaican society has had enough of being traumatised by the wanton murder of men, women and children and it is time for drastic action. Enough is enough. I want to see criminals on the run, as they are in the Phillipines where the president simply told those involved in the lucrative and socially deleterious methamphetamine trade that his policy was to kill them on sight with no discussion. The result? Criminals are on the run, in hiding and drug addicts are rushing to seek treatment.

I am not recommending a similar type of war on crime here in Jamaica, but the State needs to reassert its dominance over criminals if it is to be credible.

I am not influenced by the defence bar, because from their perspective, crime is good for business and wailings about human rights are meant to distract us from the fact that a reduction in crime, especially murder, means fewer big briefs and large fees. I do not expect defence lawyers to make a meaningful contribution to the discussion about a solution to the crime problem when they clearly make a better living when crime rates are high.

For example, the defence bar is always opposed to restrictions on the right to bail - even though many accused commit murder while on bail - not because the defence bar is more enlightened on the liberty of the subject than the rest of us, but because bail applications are the bread and butter of a defence lawyer's practice. Legal restrictions on bail affect their ability to deliver to clients charged with custodial offences and the accused will eventually stop paying for bail applications altogether, if lawyers are repeatedly unable to 'win' them bail as a result of legislative restrictions on the right to bail.

I am also not influenced by the Horace Levys of the world either. While he has done a sterling job with the Peace Management Initiative, Levy's ideas about solving crime and the social problems that lead to crime are naive and costly. He does not seem to accept that there will always be some members of society - even in the wonderful Scandinavia where social welfare is state funded - who will deviate from the norm, violate the rights of others, kill, steal and assault.




My only problem with Mr Boyne's suggestion is the fact that with crime and politics so interlinked, I do not trust the political directorate to be even-handed in their application of "drastic measures" to reduce crime. Politicians in Jamaican garrisons associate and consort with the criminal elements, who in turn terrorise those very garrison communities and voters.

For example, a recent conversation with a female resident of a garrison community revealed to me that when one lives in a garrison and parents die and leave one a house, the legitimate heirs are not permitted to rent excess space in the family home to others for extra income. 'Bad man' in the area install tenants of their choosing in one's home, collects the rent from one's family property and one is powerless to object, as the men terrorising them financially are 'area leaders' or 'dons', with a shield of political protection. When I asked whether she had complained to the MP, she laughed at me and said, "Den di MP nuh mus' know?"

So, for me, the question is, who will police the politicians when they have the police policing the people with drastic measures?

Martha Brae