Sharing the blame

Published: Friday | December 6, 2013 Comments 0
National Security Minister Peter Bunting (left) and police chief Owen Ellington have come under fire for a still-high murder rate. - FILE
National Security Minister Peter Bunting (left) and police chief Owen Ellington have come under fire for a still-high murder rate. - FILE

S. Peter Campbell, Guest Columnist

As one of Gordon Robinson's faithful readers, I am often amused by his comical treatment of some very serious subjects. His column 'Who is to blame?', however, has left me scratching my head for his attack on the police commissioner and the minister of national security without showing valid cause.

I find it most disingenuous that Mr Robinson has not admitted that, collectively, we have given these two men 'basket fi carry wata', and the predictable results of this action have now elicited the ire of otherwise well-thinking people. The game is an old one of appropriating the culpability to the low fruits on the tree. Both of these men are constrained by circumstances beyond their direct control.

Last time I checked, the commissioner was not responsible for the Budget of Jamaica and cannot vote himself funds to effectively do what must be done with crime. It is the Government's responsibility to provide said funds in adequate amounts to meet the growing crime problem. Mr Bunting is but one voice crying out for funds among a plethora of others seeking a piece of a dwindling financial pie.

The fact of the matter is that there is enough blame to go around as we, the voters, are also responsible for what Government continues not to do in securing the nation against the criminals who have ostensibly taken over our island.

The armchair experts continue to cast blame and never offer conclusive answers as to how to fix the problem. Why is there not a crime commission of our best thinkers and our criminologists who are not just going to be talking heads grabbing headlines, but coming up with workable solutions for stemming the tide of crime?

What makes the political movers and shakers afraid to shut down the dons and disband the garrisons in their constituencies? Why does it seem that politicians are willing to cover for known criminals (Tivoli being a case in point)?

Why is there not an act of Parliament to accommodate swift punishment by a firing squad for police officers or soldiers who are found guilty of killing people with reckless abandon? That would make the trigger-happy criminals among them think twice before killing a citizen extrajudicially.

The revolving-door suggestion seems puerile at best. They will be replaced by others who will have the same results because of the same causes.

I agree that tech-savvy training is a necessity. That said, where is the money going to come from to equip every station, every police vehicle with computers, unless Government makes it a priority to make the funds available? The ministers should never have been given high-end vehicles in the first place and really should be made to drive their own.

I am glad I found some agreement with Mr Robinson with his stand on the army, which is a holdover from the colonial occupation of the island and has long been deemed to be irrelevant. It is true that they are a financial burden and serve no useful purpose but to remind us that we are still subjects of Her Majesty, regardless of our so-called Independence.

On the other hand, the housing and maintenance of convicted murderers also cost a bundle, and they should be summarily executed and save us the expense of keeping them.

Maybe Mr Robinson should wheel and come again but light a candle first, so he may see that Peter Bunting and Commissioner Owen Ellington are not the problem, but we are our own worst enemies. The crime tree needs to be cut at the root and the stump burnt, and this will take the collective resolve of the citizens who must step up and find representatives who will stop playing the self-aggrandisement games and serve the country's best interests. We all are to blame.

Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and speterc@aol.com.

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