Thu | Jun 21, 2018

JaRistotle’s Jottings | What do we really want?

Published:Thursday | May 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Opposition Leader Peter Phillips
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
1
2

The never-ending cycle of government initiatives, counter-arguments by the opposition, and opinions and counter-opinions from disparate individuals and organisations has, quite frankly, become a pain in the derriere. The politicos invariably exude obstinacy, sticking to their guns at the expense of objectivity and reason. We just don't seem to be going anywhere in a hurry with all this pussyfooting; literally stuck in a quagmire while burning issues remain unresolved.

We want to see reductions in crime, particularly murders, and feel safe and secure as we go about our daily business. We call on the governments of the day to do something meaningful, to stop the carnage.

However, when this current government decides to do something, to implement zones of special operations (ZOSOs) and states of emergency (SOEs) there are outcries from the opposition and special interest groups. When this government decides to push for the introduction of the National Identification System (NIDS) the opposition cries foul and takes the matter to court. What the dickens do we want?

We should never lose sight of the fact that successful governments present dilemmas for opposition parties. If this government is successful in curbing the crime monster, attracting hitherto reluctant investors and delivering on their promised progress, then the Opposition's goose is cooked. Votes are the heartbeat of political parties. Unfortunately, it is the tearing down of each other's ideas and initiatives, rather than adding value thereto, that is the practised means of garnering such votes.

In the ensuing splitting of hairs, objectivity is often lost, and we end up with less than optimum outputs from government. The recently cited flaws in the anti-gang legislation is a prime example. Had our politicos been more receptive to the opposing points of view, and settled on solutions that were appurtenant to the problems at hand and in the best interest of the country, we would have avoided the quagmires into which we customarily plunge head first.

Needless to say, the recent court actions regarding the NIDS legislation is more of the same old-fashioned obstinacy, driven by party agendas rather than objectivity. Let's see what the developing Electoral Commission saga unfolds.

 

Calling a spade a spade

 

I am not particularly enamoured by the ZOSO and SOE strategy of locking down an area and practising preventive detention as the primary means of controlling violent crime and stemming the bloodletting that had been so commonplace in the affected areas. But it is a necessary evil under the circumstances.

However, logic must prevail. The security forces must take the fight even further, to escalate the hunt for the murderous animals who remain at large, as well as the scoundrels who aid and abet them. I know this notion will not go down well with the many social scientists and human-rights advocates who have openly voiced their opposition to such approaches, as is their right to do, but I say it as I see it. I call a spade a spade.

 

A place for everything

 

Please don't get me wrong. I strongly support the social intervention and adjustment strategy they champion. However, to be successful, we need to separate the not-yet corrupted from the lords of evil, and thereby reduce their vulnerability. Social engineering of the magnitude and depth that is needed nationally cannot succeed if we are competing with the more attractive, get-rich-quick enticements of gangbangers.

There needs to be a meeting of the minds: enforcement entities to create and maintain the environment, allowing the social services to operate free of competing actors. Work together, be a part of new-found solutions rather than a part of recurring problems.

Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.