Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Letter of the Day | No price on life, Peter

Published:Thursday | July 26, 2018 | 12:00 AM

I am irked by the position taken by Opposition Leader Peter Philips with regard to the ongoing state of emergency (SOE) across parts of the island. Phillips is quoted in The Gleaner (July 23, 2017) questioning Parliament on whether the SOE has brought value for money since implemented. Perhaps he should ask the grieving mother if the country is getting the best value for money, or the family of that policeman who was killed on duty. If saving lives is not value enough, then what is?

For the four-month period between January and April 2018, the Police High Command estimated that at least 54 lives were saved through the SOE. At a cost of $30 million per month spent on the policing effort, that's a cost of $1.35 million for each life saved. Isn't human life worth more than that?

Dr Phillips' questioning lacks sagacity and fails to show appreciation for the many gains our hard-working security forces have made through the operations. Under the SOE, 138 alleged criminals have been arrested and charged, and violent gangs have been deprived of 20 members. This is phenomenal.

Eighteen wanted persons have also surrendered to the police and are no longer on the street creating mischief. The police have also acquired a wealth of intelligence by interrogating some 2,672 persons arrested in the operations. This is intel you can't buy - intel that may later help cripple billion-dollar black market industries such as guns and drug trades.

Earlier this year, the Police High Command also confirmed that public trust towards police is steadily rebuilding. With increased trust, members of the public are more likely to cooperate with the police in crime-fighting efforts. The fear of police and 'informer-fi-dead' cultures that have hampered many investigations may soon become a thing of the past. These are gains that cannot be measured quantitatively. To do this is to ignore the real value that the state of emergency has brought. It's not all about the money, Dr Phillips.