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LETTER OF THE DAY - top talking and act now

Published:Sunday | March 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor,

As murder and other violent crimes continue to escalate, Jamaica is facing a crisis of unparalleled dimension - one that is going to sweep over every single person in this land we love. The high number of murders has reached a danger point that needs to be treated with the same intensity and coordination of efforts that we would treat a major crisis.

With the recently published
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
fresh in our minds, it is time to stop pointing fingers and take action. The Bruce Golding government and other elected officials must stop talking about taking steps and start taking action by providing the police force with the resources to help break the vicious cycle of violence that grips our country. Crime should not be politicised. In a nutshell, politicians must keep off criminal matters and allow the law to take its course.

We need to approach this challenge in a new way. We need to view violent crime - especially gang-related violence and murders - not only as individual acts, but as part of growing and well-organised crime syndicates that have been building and gaining strength in Jamaica. These are sophisticated operations with specific territories.

Therefore, we need to have an equally sophisticated and organised crime-fighting battle plan to stop them. We must provide our law enforcement with the tools they need to keep our communities safe. While technology has advanced rapidly in the last two decades, law-enforcement agencies have faced increased difficulty in protecting the safety and security of Jamaica.

It seems the police are being overwhelmed by violent crime and cannot cope. Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) make for easy targets because they are outgunned, under-resourced and inadequately equipped. There is no clear strategy and systems in place to handle the problem of insecurity in a consistent, effective and sustainable manner.

MORE novel technologies

The Government must invest in a whole range of tools - everything from computers to more novel technologies such as a new broadband wireless network that will let cops fill out police reports from their squad cars. The marine police, perhaps together with the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard, will have to enhance their information and radar-intelligence network to assist in tracking the fast-moving drug smugglers. The Government could ask the private-sector businesses to help fund video surveillance cameras. The new equipment will assist the police to gather intelligence and effectively crack down on crime.

The crime situation in the country has worsened and I believe that now more than ever there is a need for strong leadership. One key to surviving a crisis is strong leadership. Prime Minister Golding's ultimate success will, in large part, depend on the degree of strong leadership and commitment to reduce the bloodletting and other crimes in Jamaica. The PM must show resolve to a public that is growing sceptical of his leadership.

I am, etc.,