Give Zones of Special Operations a chance
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I welcome the Gleaner's attempt to bring new and interesting columnists to its pages. However, as an avid reader of the paper, I have grown accustomed to well-researched articles reflecting opinions which are based in fact. I read with interest Ms ____ Henry's article on the zones of special Operations and I wonder whether Ms Henry actually researched her article.
Ms Henry asserted that citizens will not be able to identify security personnel in the declared zone. I recall an interview on the legislation from national security adviser General Anderson who said that the law made identification mandatory and that the joint force had worked out special mechanisms to identify all personnel in the zone. I checked the law myself and this is the case.
Then Ms Henry asserts that the law and strategy are top-down. On the contrary, this is the first crime-fighting law which actually dictates social intervention and community participation. It is to be noted that the government has placed special emphasis on social intervention as a key factor in the continued success of the zones once they are normalised. The effect of such community intervention will, in fact, "build trust" and promote "far reaching benefits".
As I continue to assess the comments made by Ms Henry in her article, it seemed more and more to me as though she failed to fully grasp and appreciate the overwhelmingly positive impact that the zones of special operations, together with its social intervention component, will have on not just in small communities, but parishes and, by extent, the entire country.
The zones of special operations is a crime-fighting strategy that will be a major game changer for Jamaica, and I am certain it will yield results. Now, if public sentiment is anything to go by, given the outrage of many Jamaicans concerning the level of crime in their country, then, they too should fully approve of the Government's initiative.
I put it to Ms Henry that this article is at best premature, and I would strongly recommend to her that she gives the zones of special operations a chance to effect change with regard to Jamaica's crime situation; 'don't knock it, until you've tried it'.