Fri | Oct 15, 2021

Letter of the Day | Protecting Jamaica from criminals

Published:Friday | October 8, 2021 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I am a member of the diaspora and a former member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). I read in the media about the intentions of National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang to realign the Protective Services Division.

At a time when the JCF is short on manpower and the ugly vestiges of crime plague us all, I wish to make some suggestions:

1) Remove the officers of the Protective Services Division and place them on front line and use members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) as close protection personnel.

2) Reform the system of justice to have speedy trials. Significantly reduce the adjournments and postponements and have all trials complete within a year. Cases sitting around for five years should NOT be happening.

3) Have more witness statements on video so that if the live person is not available, the video can be substituted. Have the police record on video all statements to refute defence challenges.

4) Utilise Zoom or other video software technology to have remote testimony, without the need to have to move prisoners around. Prisoners can face the judge from a secure and equipped lock-up.

5) Reintroduce capital punishment to deter these brazen criminals. They need to realise that the chances of getting away with committing serious crimes are pretty slim to none. In the United States where I live, they execute criminals, so why not in Jamaica? If hanging is not acceptable or tolerable, then find another means, such as the electric chair or lethal injection. There must be strong and swift deterrence.

6) On the matter of guns coming in by sea from Haiti and other areas. The Jamaican Government needs to acquire drones to patrol the vast open sea spaces that we have. I would suggest that a central monitoring of these drones be located in Miami in a joint control regime. The control will transmit suspicious sightings to all vessels on patrol in Jamaican waters. Accordingly, more patrol boats need to be acquired for both the JCF and JDF Coast Guard.

Finally, since crime and violence is the greatest threat to our number one foreign exchange earner and significant bastion for the Jamaican economy and the prosperity of its people, then no expense should be spared in pursuit of these safeguards.

As with everything else, capital is needed to fund these projects. The private sector could assist the Government in this by providing certain technology free of cost. A crime and technology fund could be created so that the private sector companies that want to contribute cash can do so. Entertainers and promoters can put on events, and the proceeds contributed to this fund.

This is our paradise, we have to protect it.

STANLEY CUMMINGS GORDON

Former JCF member