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Letter of the Day | I would settle for Robin Hoods if ...

Published:Sunday | July 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The law of unintended consequences is that actions of people, and especially of government, always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it.

The police have, for the longest time, called for the elimination of the dons, and popular opinion agrees with this stance. Indeed, it had been thought to be good police strategy, and even in the face of no success in crime prevention and management, this practice persists to this day.

The prime minister stated that there are no "Robin Hoods" in Jamaica so that there will be no further instance where people in Tivoli can sleep with their doors unlocked or windows open. Instead, in the special-ops zones, the mighty forces of law and order will quiet the community, even if that type of action has not worked in the past.

I would join him, but for the words of Damian Hutchinson, the new executive director of the Peace Management Initiative: "What happened was the police went into the communities and went after the heads of gangs and a lot of the gangs were disrupted, but not dismantled. What happened, subsequently, is that the whole nature and structure of many of these gangs changed dramatically, so younger guys now had guns and were breaking away and started to network across political boundaries and gang boundaries, wanting to do things in their own way."

The criminal enterprises splintered and now these numerous factions are coalescing. These gangs are now spread across the entire Corporate Area, creating a nightmare for law enforcement and triggering a massive escalation in crime.

We have a graphic example of that where the sitting councillor and member of parliament aspirant in St Andrew South West was shot and his secretary killed, so the politician is no longer able to give any direction at all. (When last have you heard of a politician at that level being a gun victim?)

It is a lot of youth, 16 to 22 years old, who have control over the guns and the old guard is no longer there. This is the law of unintended consequences at work! Community leaders were not all bad; some were constructive and led to peaceful interventions.

I would settle for a few Robin Hoods if it meant that I could walk in peace, that my house was safe, and that my friends were not being raped and murdered with impunity.