Don't sound so gleeful over crime, Mr Fitz Jackson

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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Mr Fitz Jackson, the Opposition spokesman on national security, should not believe that he would be making himself redundant if he took the politics out of crime and pushed for solutions over scoring points.

In fact, Mr Jackson has enough points on the board from his strident fight to get usurious bank fees down, such that he can afford not to seek partisan political benefits from the hold that crime has over the country.

In his latest press statement issued yesterday, he quite rightly sought to keep the Government on its toes and to remind the Administration, in case they needed a reminder, that the mere declaration of a state of emergency, zones of special operations and shuffling Mr Bobby Montague out of the security ministry are not enough to fight crime.

Mr Jackson gets our support for drawing attention to “a significant increase in murders in St Andrew South and an overall 44 per cent increase in murders between January 1 and April 21, compared to a similar period in 2017”, and that “over the past week, several murders have been reported in Denham Town, St James and North St Catherine, all areas under special operations”.

Where he went wrong is in the unmistakeable sound of gleefulness in trumpeting how those anti-crime measures have failed to arrest “the skyrocketing murder rate and demonstrate, beyond any doubt, that the Holness led-administration remains clueless and incapable of addressing the nation's crime issue”.

“We continue to state that ZOSO [zone of special operations] and SOE [state of emergency] are temporary measures and cannot contain the widespread problem that this nation is facing; yet this Government continues with its public relations gimmicks, pretending that they are taking action while more communities are becoming killing fields,” Mr Jackson relishes.

If only it were true that any administration, including ones served by Mr Jackson, had taken control of crime and demonstrated that they had finally found the elusive solution. No one side can claim any credibility in this regard.

That is why the only option is for the two major political parties to join hands and unite the country in a sustained, national onslaught against criminals. Telling us what we already know does not advance the fight against crime one iota.

Indeed, it is instructive and even ironic that, despite the ZOSO in Jamaica Labour Party-controlled Denham Town, crime continues to drive fear in the hearts of residents. Clearly, those criminals there are no respectors of parties.

Perhaps we can learn something from how Australia handled the management of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. A full minister was appointed to spearhead the hosting of the games and the athletes' village had its own mayor.

It might be useful to have a deputy commissioner whose only job is to co-ordinate and manage the areas under ZOSO and state of emergency, deciding when it is appropriate to reduce or increase the operational forces.

Mr Jackson seems to have been expecting major results in the short time that the special measures have been introduced. But he is not fooling anyone. He has to know better.

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