By James Moss-Solomon
Well, another two weeks have passed, several events have unfurled, older events have been conveniently forgotten, questions remain unanswered, “and the band plays on”. The memories of our population seem to be severely impaired and are related only to the fleeting kaleidoscopes of social media. Focus is lost in those vehicles and will never return to matters that require some thought and analysis.
The Sunshine Girls had a clean sweep over T&T; the Reggae Boyz are in danger of not making a World Cup appearance; our West Indies Cricket team made a really poor start; who really knew where and who Elaine Thompson-Herah is training with; our National Rugby Team is performing well; the JFF seems to be floundering; and that is only sports. Political matters are a totally different set of dynamics. What a jumbled and fractious country we live in.
The abduction of two young girls mobilized an entire community armed with machetes. In short, the two girls were recovered; an innocent man was murdered in a case of mistaken identity and no one has been charged, and the person of interest remains at large, probably with the complicity of friends or family. Could you imagine the protests by citizens if that murdered man was mistakenly shot and killed by the police?
The primary suspect in the abduction was out on bail awaiting a court case involving gun violence. Like the Wild West perhaps he could have been lynched for the safety of the community, but I could hear the outcry of the legal luminaries in pursuit of justice, and some high fees. The poor die unnoticed and unremembered while the guilty are conveniently forgotten.
In the case of the gang members on trial (over 30 people), the delays due to those affected by COVID-19 and cramps continue and I expect that this will continue like Noah loading the Ark. The animals came in two by two. Meanwhile, the facilities to conduct trials by remote link remain generally elusive after 22 months’ forewarning. So those who try to dispense justice are severely hampered.
The horrific news of two members of a congregation being murdered in a form of cult behaviour/ritual shocked the entire country and has brought a new focus on the reforms needed to register churches, and the penalties for non-compliance clearly delineated. Even before that horror ended, the pastor who styled himself as “His Excellency” was killed in a major road accident whilst being transported to Kingston to face charges in court. A member of the Constabulary also lost his life and two others were admitted to hospital with serious injuries.
The severed head of a man was delivered to the gate of relatives in Duhaney Park. This is synonymous of “The Godfather”, head of the crime family, and “Capo di tutti Capi”. Once again criminals are following the movies. In a reverse wish, I wonder when The Punisher will reveal himself and take out the bad guys.
The spread of COVID-19 within the prison system among prisoners and warders alike is cause for extreme concern. This was an obvious outcome based on the logistics of overcrowding, poor sanitation, close confinement, and insufficient protective devices. So whose fault is it and who needs to be sanctioned?
These bring technology into a sharp focus. What is available? What do we have? What should we have and use?
Worldwide, street surveillance cameras that are linked and available from private premises are commonplace. It seems to work in assisting the identification of a wide cross-section of murders, holdups, kidnapping and like offences. We have had our Jamaica Eye programme that gained a nine day political “wonder” status but it seems to be inadequate, non-operational, or perhaps abandoned. So too the initiative for police body cameras and dashboard cameras.
Drones are an essential part of surveillance and can detect the movement of gangs (and nowadays illegal street dances and other parties uptown that breach no-movement days). They are also useful in detecting suspicious night activities related to drug for guns, and relay those to both Coast Guards and ground and air Special Forces.
So what do we have? I am not sure that I can identify the usage or ownership of any of the aforementioned technologies, or how effective they have been. I do, however, note that crime continues to trend in the wrong direction. I do not wish to hear the “secret “initiatives, but I do expect to see results from their application. Operations should be the subject of well executed plans, and not in a manner that allows tips from insiders to forewarn criminals of raids and searches. That is part of the outcome of only uncovering the “tip of the iceberg” whilst being a passenger on the Titanic.
We need some reliable and armed drones and helicopters; we need surveillance planes with long range capabilities to cover larger areas; we need strategically placed and equipped boats for at-sea interception (and adequate fuel).
As previously written, we need to recognize that criminality is aligned to civil unrest; chaos; control; revolution; and overthrow. Wake up and see the mayhem unfolding.