Columns

Holness, we want results, not reports!

Franklin
Johnston

Friday, November 30, 2018

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He said we would sleep with doors open and we trusted. Now, after years, Prime Minister Andrew Holness now speaks of a “commission on violence in Jamaica” to recommend “measures that may be pursued to make Jamaica a more caring and loving society”. Nonsense!

We don't need a study. Curb crime and love flows. Have local ideas been tried? Incidentally, Sir, do not refer to Jamaica as a brand. Writers may, but you are our gravitas. So do not diminish 2.8 million people abroad!

He speaks of crime “tarnishing”, so to hear Horace Chang speak to our stats as the worst in the world is refreshing, yet regrettable. We infect America with drug posse and mules. In the UK a police unit exists for Yardie violence. No more studies, or foreigners; try local ideas!

Sir, a kids' wading pool is a system. So, as two boys jump in the fat boy on the other side flops out. Jamaica is a system too, so you ZOSO [zone of special operations] an area and killers move to another. Then crime impacts production in rings of diminishing growth.

Sir, you tried a new commissioner, state of emergency (SOE), ZOSO, but these are not sustainable. What next? Mossad to target people? An SOE or ZOSO for area, parish or nation is not new. Ask Pearnel about 40 years ago.

Holness said: “The propensity to violence is one of the reasons for Jamaica's crime problem,” and “for the first time the Jamaican Government has deployed force.” We hear that within the decade our murder rate “will be significantly reduced”, but where is the plan?

We need good stats, not police “clear-up” rates. In the USA a man who shoots one or a dozen, kills self, is shot, or caught. Here, our cowardly miscreants hide embedded with guns in areas they grew up and don't do suicide. We need stats on those caught, killed by police, guns seized and assets confiscated. Peace brokered with criminals can't work. We eliminate, not negotiate!

Jamaica needs behaviour change so two ways must be used simultaneously. First, use education to give kids good values and attitudes. This is long term and results are often uncertain and never 100 per cent. So what do we do as we wait 15 years to grow decent adults? Holness's challenge now is adult misconduct, crime and violence, so second we must use laws and swift enforcement to achieve adult behaviour change. Ex-British colony Singapore is a model for this. Will Holness be our Lee Kuan Yew? He inherited an economic salvation model and executes well, so can he initiate a model to curb crime and violence for Peter Phillips to continue?

Sir, here are some ideas:

To begin, the state must train communities for self-defence. The cancer of crime is into metastasis all over, so the cure is invasive and good cells may die as we excise bad ones. Good folk must be trained in their districts. Next we need a national ID; compulsory and linked to an address. If we can't find our people, it's hell! Cabinet and Opposition must sort out this ID matter ASAP! Developed nations, pre-computer, had many numbers — social security, passport, etc — all costly to maintain. We are lucky to start late with computers, one unique number, and only 2.8 million people; do it quickly!

When the boy at the traffic light says he wants $100 or he will break my window, I comply. He says the police at Matilda's Corner can only talk, not arrest him, as he is a minor. He learns that extortion pays. I would be jailed and blasted by rights groups who taught him this mantra if I acted on my impulse. Sir, what rights do I have?

Next, fund the school system properly — early childhood to age eight as priority — so good conduct begins early. If a kid reaches age 16 and is illiterate and feral, then other agencies with a behaviour change remit ought to step in, not school, yet some teachers at his school should be held to account.

Next, what would we give up for a time to help curb crime? Holness must show us plans, state the latitude he needs, for how long, to produce what results, and we say yes or no!

Next, to help police, borrow the British police community support officer (PCSO) model — trained civilians (retired teachers, civil servants, etc) paid to work in offices, schools, parks to free up regular police. There is also a corps of volunteer, uniformed cops (secretaries, managers in careers who give set hours a week to train and do police work).

Finally, we also need a nFBI-type (called National Crime Agency in the UK) body to deal with police crime, political corruption, etc. So use the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) as the base of this elite body.

Our young, post-Independence prime minister is at 1,616 corpses and counting. He's been a Member of Parliament for 20 years, degrees, prime minister twice; is this all you have in the tank? We want results, not reports!

August Town was the icon of peace until miscreants changed their minds; then kaboom! Sir, lead or step aside. Stay conscious!

Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK); and lectures in logistics and supply chain management at Mona School of Business and Management, The University of the West Indies. Send comments to the Observer or franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com.

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