EDITORIAL - Golding's flaccid leadership on crime
As much as Jamaicans may have come to doubt it, Prime Minister Bruce Golding has convinced us that he is capable of passion - especially when it comes to defending the presumed rights of his parliamentary constituents.
Just ask Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, the assumed 'don' of West Kingston, who the United States would like to be extradited on narcotics and gun-smuggling charges, and against which Mr Golding's government has mounted tough resistance with esoteric legal manoeuvrings. Mr Golding argues that fighting hard for Mr Coke is really protecting the constitutional rights of all Jamaican citizens.
This is the kind of passion that this newspaper wishes Prime Minister Golding to bring to the fight against crime in our country, which poses, perhaps, the greatest threat to the rights and freedoms of the Jamaican people.
417 people murdered
By this newspaper's ongoing count, up to last Saturday, 417 people were murdered in Jamaica since the start of the year, a jump of 20 per cent over the corresponding period in 2009. On this trajectory, Jamaica could reach, or even surpass, 2,000 homicides this year. The killing fields are national. No community is immune or safe.
In most countries, not callused by crime or having grown callous of the idea of wanton murder, our situation would be cause for national outrage and, more important, would have engendered a sense of crisis from thoughtful leaders. Our government, ifits attitude is to be judged, discerns no crisis.
If it did, Mr Golding, as the Coke affair has demonstrated he is capable of doing, would be at the forefront, as mobiliser-in-chief, egging us on in a moral crusade against crime, even as he pushes his national security minister, Mr Dwight Nelson, to develop effective strategies and policies to support the operational efforts of the police against crime. Mr Golding's and the Government's efforts, in this regard, are, at best, flaccid.
Disappointing and disheartening
It is all very disappointing and disheartening. For Mr Golding, more than any recent Jamaican leader, came to office with the expectation that he possessed a moral certitude that would translate to clarity in leadership and new, higher and effective standards in governance. With regard to crime, his administration came to office with a fully articulated plan for dealing with the problem, including strategies for dismantling political garrisons.
None of Mr Golding's three security ministers, including Colonel Trevor MacMillan, under whose leadership that plan was developed, appeared, while in office, to be aware of its contents. So, the country limps along in this trail of blood, mainly of poor Jamaicans.
There are many people responsible for this failure - the population, the police, Minister Nelson, and so on. But the greater responsibility rests with the prime minister who has failed to be at the forefront in an effective and passionate campaign against this monster.
The opinions on this page, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner. To respond to a Gleaner editorial, email us: email@example.com or fax: 922-6223. Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all responses will be published.