THE EDITOR, Sir:
THE RECENT comments made by Mayor Bertel Moore, inducing police personnel to shoot first and ask questions later, should not go unchallenged. Moore's comments were reckless, imbecilic, and will be to the chagrin of the members of the Westmoreland community. Crime is not synonymous with Westmoreland alone; it's an islandwide problem. A senior leader in our country cannot be so careless in his pronouncements when dealing with human lives and civil order. It would have been much more sensible of Mr Moore to come up with strategies, whether single-handedly or through the council, to fight crime, as opposed to giving such crass directives.
Some of the leaders in our country seem to be stuck in the hostile state of mind which no longer is the face of leadership and diplomacy. For a country that seems to place little focus on human rights, to hear a mayor call for such actions to be taken, whether against criminal elements or innocent individuals, is something we as Jamaicans need to take very seriously. Our country needs to move in a different direction, where the rights of an individual to live must be protected. The police officers should always take steps to protect their lives and that of innocent persons; however, the shoot first and ask questions later principle cannot and should never be accepted or considered in this democratic country.
Moore's comments simply act as a total disregard of our legal system, the principle of innocence and guilt and also crime-fighting measures which do not include lethal weapons. Every Jamaican is aware and downright fed-up of the crime situation; however, we cannot be so consumed with rage that we get carried away with our pronouncements, as that will lead to a further breakdown in our country. Leaders must always be cognisant of the impact their words have on those who follow and look up to them.
Mr Moore should withdraw publicly his statements and offer an apology to the people of Westmoreland and the entire Jamaica. We cannot continue to hold leaders semi-accountable for their actions. Jamaica and Jamaicans need to get with the new era of politics and leadership - with the main focus on accountability for actions.