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LETTER OF THE DAY - Break the back of institutionalised crime

Published:Monday | April 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM


WHEN I was a teenager growing up in the inner city of August Town, I was lucky enough to get accepted into the University of the West Indies (UWI). Before choosing a major, I consulted my girlfriend's mother, who was a senior administrator at UWI. I told her that I wanted to study political science with a view to enter politics after graduation. Her advice to me was, "Don't do it!"

She told me she had seen too many good people go into politics clean and become dirty along the way. She was right.

At the time, the university's student leadership body (the Guild of Undergraduates) was the breeding ground for aspiring politicians; the most charismatic prospects were recruited for their lessons in corruption by their mentors, senior politicians. Most of my friends who took the politics route had their names tainted along the way. One day I'll thank my ex-girlfriend's mother for what I believe was good advice to an easily influenced young man.

Rotten-to-the-core cops

The police force is another example of institutionalised corruption. No matter how good a recruit is at the start, if the system is designed for subversion, if its practitioners are stalwarts in corruption, then it's naive to expect the end result to be anything other than rotten-to-the-core police officers.

What then is the solution? I think the Government should build a university loosely modelled after the American West Point Academy. I know it's not the speedy solution that we Jamaicans love to hear, but we should by now realise that there is no quick fix to solving crime and political corruption. Yes, it would be a sizeable investment in the future, but if we can waste money on building a stadium for World Cup Cricket, then why not this?

Brainwash for a good cause

We should enlist into this university some of the brightest students just out of high school and brainwash them into becoming ethical and patriotic human beings. Tuition would be paid for by the state in return for the cadet's obligation to serve his country for a period of no less than 10 years. The academy should boast a world-class forensic lab - it's full time that we stop depending on eyewitness testimonies to solve murders.

All cadets would be required to strictly adhere to the cadets honour code, 'a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do'. And there would be regular lie-detector tests to ensure that there is absolutely no deviation from this.

I am, etc.,


August Town, St Andrew