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Garvey's birthplace, crime and firearms


Friday, January 12, 2018

The Government must not use a national heritage site declaration to expropriate poor people's house and land. Cabinet has been disgustingly cruel to the family which owns the house in which National Hero Marcus Garvey was born. The National Housing Trust (NHT) has nothing selling for $3.2 million, yet this is the sum offered as they try to grab the house. I am ashamed of the Andrew Holness-led Administration for allowing small people to be exploited — as the prime minister, more than any other, knows “a man's house is his castle”. Small people do not count with them, so if they have “ded lef” land or house, Cabinet may take it with no concern for their welfare.

We must show compassion. Here is a family offered peanuts for their home, yet Cabinet will make millions a year from tourists that visit it. Compulsory acquisition must be more than a rate sheet and should put the small man in a better position. Big men get inside information and buy lands and sell to government at big profit. The Garvey house situation shows how Cabinet can exploit the small man. The owner should be rewarded for national sacrifice. Cabinet must repent, acquire the house and uplift owners.

This is a rip-off and a public relations fiasco. All media should say this family helped the nation, but now they are vilified. Holness should be on the steps handing the families titles to two NHT houses, a few squares of farmland, with five per cent royalty for life; then hail them as patriots!

Who handles public relations for Holness that they snatch defeat from victory? Why write of “relocation” for these proud homeowners? Will they “relocate” owners of George William Gordon's house in Cherry Garden? Sir, fix it! Life is hard, so make them happy, or K D Knight might.

Crime and firearms

A new year dawned with the same horrendous murders and police chief George Quallo is the scapegoat. He will get the big pension of the top job, as all before him — no problem! We have this fiasco every time the chief is changed and the hiatus screws our security. Cabinet must change rules or get officers in the queue for the top pension after 40 years with no break so an iconic crime fighter from wherever may be seamlessly installed.

National Security Minister Robert Montague should resign as he made things worse. But his boss won't allow it, as he will be returned at party conference only if the incompetence of his competitor is blindingly obvious. So "Bobby" remains; not for security, but for politics. Unpatriotic and corrupt!

There is no link between legal firearms and our runaway murder rate, but there may be one between gun permits and secure communities. Some conflate illegal guns and legal guns as they hate guns. But since Cabinet can't protect us, to exclude working people from owning a gun for self-defence, which the rich enjoy, must be resisted. How do you live with yourself when wife and child are raped and you cower in the closet?

Legal guns get a bad rap as the Empire excluded blacks, but we now know our murder rate is driven by illegal guns and there is no correlation of murders with legal ones. Thanks to Observer Senior Associate Editor Pete Sankey (Jamaica Observer, January 8, 2018) and data for 2012 to 2016 we know murders with illegal guns were up by a fifth in 2017, and half the 42,000-plus permits were issued in 2012/16. Did murders with legal guns double? No! So 700 guns were lost, stolen, and 207 permits were revoked. What does this mean?

First, we are among the few states with sustainable murders. That gun permits doubled 2012/16 is great; we applaud this democratisation beyond the rich and famous to the working class — unprecedented!

History made! Since then, did working class men and women show off or shoot enemies? No! We applaud their discreet self-reliance. Our stats for legal guns are good and show we had a responsive, responsible, alert Firearm Licensing Authority in 2012. The 1.5 per cent with a lost, stolen gun is modest, as many are not at ease with guns, nor should be — it's a big responsibility!

Where 60 people gather, one has a gun; but when two Americans meet both own guns, as the US has a gun for everyone. Guns are inert and don't kill, people do. Legal drivers kill hundreds; legal guns, few. The UK have a knife crime epidemic. Do they issue permits for knives? No! With our epidemic of gun crime we need more legal guns. Why? Criminals avoid the six guns in 10 people of upper St Andrew and go to one gun in 10,000 elsewhere. The murder rate in the US is lower than ours: More legal guns, less murders — inverse correlation?  Should we go for three guns in 10? We need data and open minds.

What about illegal guns? Montague, how many are here? Illegal guns kill thousands; legal guns single digits.

This is a good record! The path to 2020 will be bloody. The security command fights itself, so evil rejoices.

Opposition Leader Peter Philips must go to Vale Royal, calm the young bucks, and show them reason.

Montague is clueless, exceeds his remit; bullies our chief on the eve of his exit — unacceptable! Cabinet's best shot was the zones of special operation plan — it withered. By next Friday Archangel Michael will escort some 20 of you reading this through the “pearly gates”. But we can change this!

I am all cried out by criminal excess or inept security, and Cabinet does not trust us, the 92 per cent, enough to empower us to save our own lives. I wish no man evil, but if “some a dem get jook”, it might be God's will and “mek dem trus wi!”  Stay conscious!

Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager. Send comments to the Observer or