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FRONT-PAGE EDITORIAL: We must all get angry!

Published:Sunday | April 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Given the epidemic of crime in Jamaica, it is to the surprising, and perverse, good fortune of those in authority that there is no raging public anger over the crisis and louder demands that it be fixed.

So, the Government seemingly feigns ignorance. And our prime minister occupies his time constructing legal arguments over the assumed flaws in America's request for the extradition of a key constituent and party supporter, who allegedly smuggles narcotics and guns into, and out of, the United States.

In the meantime, most other Jamaicans are worried and frightened that 482 of their fellow citizens were murdered in the first 107 days of the year; that extortionists operate with impunity; that farmers must presume that a significant proportion of their crops will be taken by praedial thieves; or, that the country's reputation will continue to be mired in an international lottery scam, operated from a small sliver of the country, but which the police seem incapable of solving.

It cannot continue like this, lest our country slip deeper into corruption, be consumed by anarchy, and soon enter the ranks of failed states. We call for a national movement to retrieve Jamaica from law breakers and criminals. Our prime minister, Mr Bruce Golding, must be at the forefront of this effort, mobilising Jamaicans against criminality with the same passion he has exercised in advancing his contention that it would be wrong to extradite Christopher 'Dudus' Coke to the United States.

At the same time, the police, backed by the material and policy support of the Government, must devise strategies to defeat obvious elements of criminality that account for many of the killings, and cause deep fear in the country. Criminal gangs and their extortion rackets are among these.

Get help against gangs

The police often identify gangs and gang leaders, but are unable to permanently dismantle them. The expertise for doing this, if unavailable in Jamaica, is available elsewhere. We should find it. Our international partners are willing to help.

The lottery scam is another area of crime worthy of targeting. It is based primarily in Montego Bay, a small city, which is the hub of the critical tourist industry. The police have not been able to break the back of these scams that help to fuel the killings that have placed Montego Bay and surrounding communities among the leading areas for murders in Jamaica.

It is time that Montegonians, including tourism interests, demand better. Indeed, it is time that all Jamaicans speak out, for the social declension of murder will not sustain forever.