The action ingredients to the crime fight

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

Dear Editor,

It is now just a matter of days before the prime minister sets out his Government's plan for the present crisis of murder. The Cabinet has discussed the matter in retreat. The prime minister has met with the National Security Council. Before putting out the plan he may want also to be guided by the views of the summit that the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica is seeking to convene within the next fortnight.

In the meantime, it is clear that, along with a medium- to long-term plan, immediate action must be taken to stop the wanton bloodletting. The right of people to life and security is paramount. To me and, I believe, to many others, it is therefore apparent that this action must include the imposition of an expanded zones of special operations (ZOSO) over relatively large areas, the most threatening ones being St James, Kingston/St Andrew and Clarendon. The law reform Bill passed last year to establish the ZOSO has most or all of the necessary ingredients for such a step.

Number and extent of the areas to be selected would depend both on the guidance of knowledgeable people on the ground and on the available number and resources of security personnel, especially the military. The method of their deployment is also critical: cordoning and monitoring of external area boundaries appear no longer relevant for dealing with changed community (and criminal) behaviour. Security force numbers and frequent spot checks might be (and might have to be, because of area extent) much more effective.

Immediate action should also include, I would suggest, two other ingredients. One is leadership. Here I would doubt that, given the urgency of action needed and the announced imminence of a constabulary Act revised to reform the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Andrew Holness will consider it wise to tamper with present position holders in the ministry and the force. He might want, however, to make more use than hitherto of the military and, in the JCF, an 'adjustment' allowing a pro-temp executive role for a competent, lower-evel officer.

The other action ingredient is a launch of a medium- to long-term social intervention along the lines of the 'army' of social workers that I have proposed ( Jamaica Observer, November 29, 2017, The Gleaner, December 20, 2017); and this not only in the enlarged ZOSOs but across the island in some 100 communities. This intervention would require, as also proposed, a national mobilisation — led by the prime minister — of public, civil society and private sector resources — financial and employment especially.

Prime Minister Holness may not see this as do-able, or he may simply be reluctant to take on such a risky challenge. Without this last ingredient, however, with its twofold components, the lesson of May 2010 will again have been missed, and in a few years we will be back again in another mess just like today's.

Horace Levy

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon