The ‘bushing’ program, done to the tune of some 900 million dollars, and coming as it did on the eve of the Local Government Elections, was a master stroke of genius in electioneering. It basically guaranteed the success of the JLP in the said poll.
Shortly thereafter, the ever-looming spectre of crime manifested itself with a plurality & brazenness Jamaicans had never seen before. The populace cried to the Police for help, and when relief was not forthcoming, cried at them for underperforming.
The Police cried foul, and pointed the finger of blame at the Government, saying they needed more tools to aid them in the curtailing of the crime beast.
The Government said they knew this, but the funds were just not available. The Opposition, with glee, ran with this ball to the goal line, claiming Government cared more about Jamaica’s appearance than its People.
While Parliament and the Police bickered, criminals operated with impunity, with daring downtown shootings in broad daylight and marauding terrorism at nights in formerly peaceful country communities.
The hue and cry arising from the current crime wave has given birth to the ‘Special Crime Zones’ bill, yet another summary ‘last resort’ by the Government, and has been, after much debate, warily welcomed by the various ‘talking heads’ and experts, none of whom have bothered to poll anyone in and from the ‘Special Zones’.
The Police, ‘the biggest, baddest gang in Jamaica’, have been given sweeping powers to do as they see fit in certain areas, and with their propensity for abuse at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the country is on eggshells awaiting the outcome of the applications of these special measures.
Whichever side of the aisle or divide you are from, everyone agrees crime is, and has been for some time, spiralling out of control. It seems, however, that not everyone knows, or is inclined to acknowledge that, for over 80% of crime, poverty is the causative agent.
The Police themselves have stated that, without social intervention, areas they’ve regained a semblance of authority over soon succumb to anarchy because of the lack of social programs therein. The Bill, therefore, even if it does curtail crime, will only have done half the work necessary to achieve stability in any zone.
The Bill’s protagonists should therefore begin crafting the requisite follow-up activities with the various agencies given the aegis to act for and by the People. We will no doubt hear the usual cry about lack of funding, but to ignore the social causes of crime is to be a partner in its reincarnation, which, in every dispensation, grows more forceful and fearsome, a REAL Super-Predator.
After all, the bar has been set with the infamous bushing program. The people now know that when you want money for your selfish purposes, you find it.
Find it for them, or the new and improved Super-predator could come knocking at your doors.