Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jamaica Election, Police Killings and JFJ Protest

Jamaica Election 2012: The Second Worst Election Campaign I have ever seen

Whoever is in charge of Andrew Holness’s Public Relations and Election campaigns should be fired. Mr. Holness is fast becoming a mediocre politician after bursting on to the scene with so much promise and hope. Only his diehard supporters still believe in him, with the same level of faith a religious nut believes in Religion. To me Andrew Holness was suppose to be the idealistic 21st Century Leader, young, vibrant and innovative the kind of person that would kick open the old ancient doors of Jamaican politics and let some fresh air and light into that frowzy halls of power, the Mark Zuckerberg of Jamaican politics but instead I keep hearing same old, same old. If I close my eyes and listen to Mr. Holness, I would think Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller or Bruce Golding or PJ Patterson was speaking, yes people, nothing new here, nothing to see, move along, the old guard is alive and well in Mr. Holness who has failed to redefine Jamaican Politics and Politicians.

Don’t get me wrong, Andrew Holness will be Prime Minister again, if his party does not get rid of him first, he will be Prime Minister not because of his message but because it is the nature of Jamaican Politics, for the people to get fed up with whoever is in power and replaces them at some point. He will also be elected Prime Minister because of the future failures of the current PNP Government, Holness will be selected by default, then unselected at some point and reselected again, which is how things run in Jamaica. The people want true leadership, they want a leader to deliver hope and a change they can believe in but both the PNP and the JLP are incapable of delivering this, both are unwilling to break the old party mold and deliver something new and why should they? The old ways have been working for the political class for quite some time now and Jamaicans are not a proactive people, we are incapable of engaging the political class on any level, social and political activism is not our strong point that part of us died when we became independent, we are failures in the Nation Building Process.

Better things to do than vote and Protest 

By far the stupidest excuse for losing an election is low voter turnout…. I do not know who came up with that rubbish, but anyone who use it sound like an idiot. The fact that the people who voted favored one party over the other means the democratic process worked, since no one prevented the people who did not vote from exercising their democratic rights, they just had things that was more important to them to do. Lots of countries have low voter turnout but I have not heard them use this excuse to console the loser, as if to say well if more people voted we would have won, what complete and utter rubbish, maybe you would have lost by a bigger margin.

Jamaicans only go out to vote if their backs are against the wall, they only vote when they are in trouble, so Jamaica clearly does not have any problems, well no problems serious enough that require voting, as per the people, by their actions. The clubs are open, there are dancehall events every night, fashion show are a plenty, jazz festival, wine and cheese tasting and skeet shooting have all gone on as scheduled. If the Government had wanted Jamaicans to vote they would have kept a dance at every polling station or in every town square and hand out free rice from the back of a truck or try to ban the dancehall, lock clubs and restrict merriment, then they would rise up.

Police Killings and a call for mass Protest

Since the start of the year 2012, 50 people have been shot and killed by the police, nearly 30 of them was killed in March alone. As a result Jamaicans from all walks of life, from various geographic locations took to the internet to register their total and utter disgust. Well to tell the truth, the outrage was based on which political party you supported it was in a sense a pretend outrage since police shootings is not new to Jamaica.

In 2011 about 213 people were reportedly killed by the police and 382 reportedly killed in 2010, 73 of which was killed in 2 days, in 2009 saw a 58% increase in in the first 5 months of that year over 2008 in which a total of 224 people was killed by the police but there was no outrage then, no call for protest, at that time the Police it was said was being "Tough On Crime". Between years 2000 and 2010 there was 2,220 fatal shootings by police but only 2 police officers have ever been charged.

I do not have a problem with “Jamaican for Justice” call for protest against police brutality; in fact I support it since police brutality and extortion (drinks money or ticket money) is a problem and warrants our attention... However I refuse to play politics with regards to this matter, if you are against police killings and corruption then which political party is in power should NOT change your position on this, it should be a matter of Principle over Politics. However looking at the murder rate in Jamaica for the past decade it is clear that we have a bigger more deadly problem facing us with over 1000 murders per year and these murders are getting more gruesome as the criminal gangs unite, expand and become more depraved.

The Rally Against Crime and Criminals:
A mass Island wide rally against gangs, criminals and murderers is required to send a strong message to the terrorist criminal elements among us. A message that we are sick of it, we are tired of it and we are not taking it any more, to show them that our Resolve is Strong, we want our country back, we are ready to take it back and we support the police and the military to do what is required to eliminate them. SO where is the general outrage, where is the uptown outrage, where is the downtown outrage, where is the overseas outrage, we get nothing but lip service.

It is also said that "Jamaican for Justice" is an affiliate of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party, since they were very active in the run up to the 2007 elections and became very quiet after that party came to power even though the amount of police killings and corruption was sky high. I hope this is not true, since this group is in the perfect position to bring about change if they are in fact non-aligned because if they are aligned to a political party then their words means nothing, they become part of the failed political class, talking out of both sides of their mouths, trying to score political points. Social Advocacy groups must detach themselves from the political parties and embrace the people, they can only have true power if it comes from the people. Jamaica would not have achieved Workers Rights and Universal Adult Suffrage if the leaders and the groups of that time did not draw their support and power from the people.

So in light of the current police killings "Jamaicans for Justice" called for a mass protest, which was held in front of the Ministry of National Security, as an outlet for all the rage against the police. The aim of the protest should not be to bring down and demoralize the security forces nor is it supposed to be a partisan political movement design to score political points for the JLP but should be done in the best interest of Jamaica. You cannot support police brutality when your party is in power calling it “being tough on crime” but denounce them as soon as your party is out of power. I am however worried that we are very quick to organize against the police but do nothing but pay lip service against the Gangs of Jamaica.

In any case after weeks of outrage and online protest only 60 people managed to turn up on the day of the gathering, I am not just disappointed with the turn out, I am completely disgusted by it. I have always said that nothing is too important to Jamaican people except merriment. In Jamaica If you want a lot of people to support your cause then keep a dance in the middle of the street and hand out free rice. The same reason why they do not turn up to vote is the same reason they will not join any protest.

The clubs are open, there are dancehall events every night, fashion show are a plenty, jazz festival, wine and cheese tasting and skeet shooting have all gone on as scheduled. Not to mention it is car show season and the new 2012 Mercedes Benz ML-250 is on show for all to see, apparently..."an evening of elegance at the South Camp Road office of Silver Star Motors", with a starting price of just $9.15 million Jamaican dollars($105,066.33 USD), you too can drive around in a car that is valued as much as a Condo in Florida ... So what’s the problem? Yard Nice!

New York nice but ina di summer time
Canada nice but ina di summer time
London nice but ina di summer time
Jamaica nice all di time.

Police Statistic 2007-2012
Number of persons murdered in Jamaica by gunmen - 5,829
Number of persons shot and injured by criminals - 8,574
Number of major crimes committed by persons using guns - 25,448
Number of illegal firearms seized by the security forces - 3,102
Number of rounds of ammunition seized from criminals - 48,868
Number of civilians killed during police-criminal clashes - 1,260
Number of police personnel killed on duty - 62
Number of police personnel shot and injured by criminals – 127

Number of Jamaicans Murdered By year
1998 - 953
1999 - 849
2000 - 887
2001 - Page not found on JCF, the BBC says estimated 1,100
2002 – 1045
2003 – 975
2004 – 1471
2005 – 1674
2006 – 1340
2007 – 1583
2008 – 1618
2009 – 1683: Jamaica records highest ever murder rate in 2009
2010 - 1442
2011 - 1124