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LETTER OF THE DAY - The cost of crime and poor governance

Published:Thursday | January 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

As I try to come to grips with the exorbitant cost associated with the ongoing West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, I can't help but to reflect on how poor governance on the part of our leaders on both sides of the political divide have left our country in the poor state it is in.

Yet again, taxpayers have been called upon to bear the cost of another enquiry. This is money that should be used to compensate the people that were affected by the incursion into Tivoli Gardens in May of 2010. This money could have also been used to upgrade our schools; equip our hospitals and provide medical supplies; improve and maintain our pothole-riddled roadways; and address a range of other problems in the country. Instead, we find approximately US$3 million to pay the members of the commission, while we, the taxpayers, are being asked to hold strain and band our bellies.

This commission of enquiry could have been prevented if we had good leaders who were serious about the well-being of this country and all its citizens. The search for Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, which caused the security forces to go into Tivoli Gardens in May 2010, which led to the killing of more than 70 Jamaican citizens, could have been prevented had enough been done to investigate, arrest Coke, and try him for his alleged crimes.

Coke did not come to prominence in 2010. He did not come to prominence when the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) formed the Government in 2007. He was large and in charge in Tivoli Gardens during the latter part of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson's rule, and he was there when Portia Simpson Miller became prime minister the first time.

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The JLP, with Bruce Golding as prime minister came to power in 2007, and like the prime ministers before him, he, along with the police, did nothing about Coke's reign. It took the United States of America to send an extradition request for Coke, and even then, attempts were made to block the request.

I can't help but wonder what US$3 million could do, as I reflect on the poor state of the road that leads to my community, the lack of piped water in my community, and the deterioration of the roof of the postal agency in my community. I am sure my member of parliament would tell me there is no money to fix these problems. However, while I am being asked to hold strain, such a huge sum is being splashed on a commission of inquiry and it is not being used to compensate the victims of the incursion.

WILTON PEART

wiltonpeart@hotmail.com