Tue | Jun 19, 2018

Jamaica's interest must come first

Published:Sunday | May 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

After the United States (US) pressured Jamaica into signing the documents for Christopher 'Dudus' Coke's extradition, the thank you that the Jamaican people received was a 'US travel alert' that has the potential to destroy the nation's strongest economic pillar, tourism.

For too long, countries like Jamaica have played the game in the interest of the developed world, jumping to their every beat without understanding what is in its national interest. While I am not upholding criminality and believe that criminals must be eliminated, Jamaica needs to look at what is happening in Mexico and its battle with the drug lords. Is that an effective crime-fighting strategy? Whose interest does this bloodbath strategy serve?

For years, the international community has condemned the Jamaican police for human-rights abuse. In fact, I have read articles where Jamaican police were compared to Mugabe's Zimbabwe police force. While I do not agree with the comparison, too often, Jamaican police use brute force to appease its organisational interests. This time, it must act in the interest of Jamaica.

That act must not include running street gun battles, the display of high-powered weaponry as if Jamaica were Afghanistan and giving the impression that Tivoli Gardens was under a military siege. This situation - the west Kingston stand-off - presents an opportunity for the Jamaica Constabulary Force to act like the 'Jamaica Constabulary Service'.

Yes, Jamaica's laws must be enforced and order must be restored. However, if it takes 20 years to arrest Dudus at his relatively youthful age of 41 without the loss of one innocent life, that is what it should take. Remember, most so-called dons do not live in the community where they exercise their 'donmanship'.

I am, etc.,



Washington, DC