Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Letter of the Day | War against crime not for minister, commissioner alone

Published:Wednesday | August 17, 2022 | 12:08 AM


The findings of the recent RJRGLEANER Communications Group-commissioned Don Anderson poll, which speaks to the confidence of the Jamaican public in the police and the army, gives much food for thought.

The poll also painted a bad picture of the police leadership in the personage of Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson and National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang.

I am a former member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), now living abroad but still have family and friends in Jamaica and still hold my citizenship in this great little country in high regard. I come to the island twice each year and, like many of us, had to live through the grief of losing a loved one to gun crime.

But I find it really strange that a staggering ninety-plus per cent of the people surveyed describe a little or lack of confidence, not only in the police, but the minister and the commissioner himself, too.

When I stop to think I am left asking myself, what is it that we really want? I am thinking that maybe, just maybe, it is not so much that these men and women of the force are doing so badly, but rather a cultural annoyance with any public figure of authority.

Resisting authority, whether by a policeman or even a parent, is what we do in Jamaica. This has been having a crushing effect on the society, where the lack of respect and decency is giving life to criminal-mindedness.

If that is not enough, the verbal abuse and, in more recent years, the physical abuse on the police is intolerable. That’s not to say some of our lawmen do not abuse members of the public, because we know that happens, too.

However, since the results of the poll were published, many so-called experts and analysts have had their say but none was able to add one bit of solution, or to at the very least suggest any meaningful antidote to our pressing crime problem.

Why can’t these people understand that this war against violence and crime is everybody’s business and not the bed, pillow and case of the minister and police commissioner alone?

As a concerned citizen, it is clear to me what our problem is. Violence will continue having the better of us if we refuse to stop the grandstanding and the vitriolic speak. It requires that everyone side with the Government in doing what we should and must do to help the police battle criminal elements in our society.

That is certainly not the role of just two men, or the 12,000 or whatever number of police personnel there are in the force now.

Our sense of nationhood and personal responsibility must move us to lay the blame where it must be laid, squarely at the feet of misguided and evil-minded people, and give the police a break.