Crime continues to raise its ugly head across the nation, and the blame game continues to dominate the news, ranging from the incompetence/corruption of the Jamaica Constabulary, all the way to calls for the influence of politicians over illegally armed supporters. Speculations of all possible causes are on the agenda of verandah talk; business organizations; school PTAs; and churches.
One assertion is that the Government has too many scandals, and the Opposition is seemingly riveted by rivalry for the president of the party. Many analysts predict that elections will be called soon to take an advantage of a poorly focused PNP, and at the same time use the confusion to leave the ongoing and potential investigations to be lost in the electoral furore.
The spread in the areas of crime seems to be accepted as the usual movement of criminals to avoid the increased activities in areas of the State of Emergency; ZOSO; and curfews. This has been a pattern for some time, and people in usually peaceful areas are seeing the usual influx of criminal relatives, or love relationships where those in hiding provide money. This may be seen by the co-conspirators as an opportunity or simply a cash windfall. Food and school fees may well be paid for lodging, and certainly more babies will be conceived. This is the usually expected “Crime B&B”, (not Air B&B).
I accept these historical trends but I am convinced that there is a new state of bravado that has worsened the current situation. Criminals are not afraid of the authorities. They are not running from gunfights. They are more heavily armed than the security forces, and they possess sufficient ammunition for their high-powered weapons. This is, for me, a lethal development as not even intentional revolutions start with the rebels being more highly armed and mobile than the establishment.
The current violent criminals are mainly teenagers, and they have no regard for those who were older Dons, now disguised as “community leaders”. They are outside of any control.
Compare this situation with the much-vaunted Cuban Revolution. Castro and Che did not start with a heavily armed militia, nor did they enter Havana riding on tanks or helicopters. So our present danger is that our criminals are heavily armed; stage holdups with hostages; escape in vehicles and cheap Chinese-manufactured motorcycles; fire at the police; and escape. We have entirely jumped beyond the evolutionary markers of peaceful resistance, straight into a situation that could eliminate the State taking any meaningful action.
We are living dangerously and retaliation will not be supported by human rights activist groups. They do not intend to be around to see the violent outcomes of uncontrolled insurrection, as they will be safely in the international agencies in Washington, New York, Geneva, or Brussels.
On Tuesday 11th June 2019, Parliament seemed to have woken up to the stark reality of the threat of wanton killing. It took Dr Angela Brown-Burke (PNP) and Mrs Marlene Malahoo-Forte (JLP), to bring the House to the reality of the brutality that is taking place. They were assisted by male Parliamentarians of both sides in stopping the usual childish and churlish behaviour. Congratulations.
The evolution is getting too close to the stage where politicians are the next objects for violence. Thank you, ladies, for the maternal instincts that are necessary to have united action. Male parliamentarians, either join the movement or go back to playing your usual marbles. This is survival, elections or no elections; new president or current president.
But where are these arms and ammunition originating? The answer is in the uncontrolled and uninspected US ports dealing with exports, in particular Miami where officials have recently admitted this. Yet they are able to inspect incoming goods to the USA, and are quite efficient in this activity.
It is a crime to be small and poor! If we were large, rich, and militarily inclined we would have taken three actions. Firstly, we would ban imports from the USA that did not meet our import inspections in their country. Secondly, we would have the right to board and search all vessels originating from the USA that entered our territorial waters. Thirdly, we would make them pay for that expense. What a dream! “But donkey seh the world no level.”
So the price of being poor mendicants in a small island is to have our rights abused by criminals originating in the USA who are supplying the tools of war to our own criminals. Sovereignty is only a word of convenience to be used in righteous and impotent indignation on our own platforms. We can no longer retaliate with ganja as the USA grows more than we do, and we could describe that as their “weed security”.
The Third World band lyrically explain this in their hit: 96 degrees in the shade: “entertainment for you; martyrdom for me”.
I hope that this stimulates some useful dialogue and action before the situation worsens.