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Over the past few months, those of you who follow my page will note that I have become very strident in my remarks about corruption and crime in the country. For over 30 years I have seen the high levels of crime and corruption continue to soar. PNP supporters cuss di JLP government and JLP supporters cuss di PNP government about it. The cussing continues and the corruption and crime continue.
CORRUPTION AND CRIME, NATIONAL PROBLEMS
Corruption and crime are now national problems and like cancer, they are slowly bringing this country to its knees. This state of affairs did not come upon us like Nicodemus in the night. It has been getting progressively worse over the years. A dramatic increase in crime was seen during the 1970s.
This climaxed into the bloody elections of 1980 when over 800 persons it was reported were killed due to political violence. The violence is seen over those years since the 1970s would give a crocodile upset stomach. We saw poor old people losing their lives at the Eventide home in a fire. We remember the terrible Orange Street fire and the burning down of many communities.
We saw the growth of unplanned communities like that in front of the University Hospital of the West Indies and also above Harbour View, Flanker in Montego Bay, and Russia in Westmoreland just to name a few.
We need a national plan to deal with unplanned communities. In many of these unplanned communities, criminals find refuge, persons live in sub-human conditions and the state is unable to maintain such areas due to how they are structured. You cannot have unplanned communities where many have to capture lands and expect to develop a modern society.
DO THE LEADERS CARE?
What is interesting is that many of our leaders don’t seem to care much and some of them have been very close to some of the so-called dons in these volatile areas. They have had the dons functioning like Mayors in the various communities. We had them in Spanish Town, Rema, Jungle, Tivoli, East Kingston, and other areas. Funeral services for some of these dons were like State Funerals. I must admit it does not seem as if there are connections with the dons and political figures these days.
Our murder rate is now running over 1000 per year for over three decades. We have seen proper parenting abandoned in this country. We have seen principals and teachers losing control of the classrooms. We have seen students having rights with little emphasis being put on the right to learn.
We have seen where we have had to sell many state-owned enterprises such as the JPSCo, Air Jamaica, the Caribbean Cement Company, and others. We now wonder what we own in Jamaica. We cannot even enjoy the beautiful beaches that the people once owned.
WE GLORIFY CRIMINALS AND STATE ENTITIES NEED TO BE CONTROLLED
We now have a country that glorifies criminals. Persons of questionable character have been given national awards. One of the most popular people in the country is a convicted murderer. Ex-convicts have returned to this country and given a hero’s welcome. Don’t forget that a convicted murderer can take pride in himself because he lectured at a function at the University Of The West Indies some years ago.
STATE AGENCIES WASTE TAXPAYERS MONEY
Some state entities spend government money as if it belongs to one man. The auditor general puts out annual reports and we continue to wait and see if anyone will enjoy a night in her majesty’s hotel. Corruption is treated as just a headline matter yet a man who steals ackee off government’s property is given the full length of the law.
ARE WE ON THE ROAD TO BECOMING A FAILED STATE AND HOW WE CAN STOP IT?
Persons commit the most heinous crimes and they only spend a few years in jail. Convicts can appeal their judgment and yet the prosecutor cannot appeal a judgment. Judges take for ever to deliver written judgments and therefore appeals are held up. Hanging is still on the books yet we have not hanged anyone for many years in this country. What a life, what a country.
Jamaica needs to make a decision now and get some order in the country or else we are heading for a failed state status. We need to start at the home. We need strong social laws which will ensure that we have children that we can maintain and grow up properly and provide for all their physical, social, and intellectual needs. This is important so that these children can become productive in a modern state.
We need to put principals and teachers back in charge of our educational institutions. We also need to have enough social workers who monitor and ensure that our children grow up in homes where their needs are properly met.
Every child leaving school should be able to read, write and have a skill. If that is not happening then someone must be held accountable for this failure. We must stop moving children from class to class when they have not been competent in the knowledge and skills required at a particular level.
Every single adult is expected to follow and uphold the laws of the land. There must be a system to identify every single individual in this country using a computer-based system that allows us to uniquely identify each citizen.
Issuing tickets for most offenses should be the main method of achieving good order in society. For each ticket earned the punishment should increase. Citizens should also be rewarded for good behavior.
There need to be strict laws for those who are a part of the state apparatus. For example, any member of the security forces or the civil service caught in any corrupt activity should stand the possibility of losing all his/her assets and being given a life sentence. Politicians who are caught participating in corrupt activities and betraying the trust of the people should get a life sentence on conviction.
There need to be serious penalties for heads of the various state organizations to ensure that those who do not ensure that timely audit reports and financial reports are submitted to the relevant bodies on a timely basis, pay dearly for this failure. Operations of government organizations should be transparent so for example, financial reports, reports of their boards should be published on their websites.
Security in Jamaica must be given top priority. The state should establish a reserve police force which is at least 30% of the regular force. All needs to be done to computerize most of the operations of the force.
A SOCIALIZATION PROGRAMME NEEDED FOR THE YOUTH
All young people should spend at least two years after high school or university, being trained in a skill which can help them to do things such as construction, farming, and other activities so that they can become self-reliant and help to build their own homes for example. Credit should be given for such hours worked which would be redeemable in the future if they require the services of the state.
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