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LETTER OF THE DAY - Why not merge the two forces?

Published:Friday | February 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Kindly allow me to express my views on the horrific homicide rate in Jamaica and what I think needs to be done about it. I have watched with great concern the escalating homicide rate in Jamaica which continues to spiral out of control year after year. It is common knowledge to all that the nation has been gripped by the gruesome tentacles of hardened criminals who continue to snuff out the precious lives of innocent Jamaicans. In light of this frightening fact, I urge the Government to employ measures that will effectively bring the homicide rate down to a tolerable level.

I use this medium to call upon the primeminister to immediately bring to Parliament, a bill to merge the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) into one national force. If the police-to-civilian ratio were to be closely examined, it would be easily concluded that Jamaica is severely underpoliced. A lack of adequate police personnel can significantly affect a country's crime rate. To compensate for this void, the Government should seriously consider merging these two entities. Instead of embarking on a massive recruitment drive for new policemen, it would be much easier and economically viable for the Government to combine both JCF and JDF. This would not bring an additional strain on the Budget because JDF members are already on the Government payroll.

Let the change begin

Jamaica as it stands doesn't need a military. The role of the military is to protect a nation against external treats while the constabulary is to protect the nation from internal treats. Jamaica faces more of an internal treat than an external one and regrettably, Jamaica needs to be protected from itself. The nation is not at war, so why do we see JDF personnel daily patrolling the streets of Kingston in full combat gears? The intentions behind this may be good but on the international scene, it leaves a negative impression. Let the change begin! Merge the JDF with the JCF and let the new joint force be called the Jamaica Combined Forces and thus retaining the abbreviation 'JCF'. Jamaica needs this change now!

I am, etc.,

CEFFERYCOL HINES

New York, USA