The blog is getting a head-start. I was fully intending to begin in earnest on Sunday coming to coincide with the big Sunday issues of all the newspapers, but I had to comment early on my shock and disappointment over the remarks of the PM Bruce Golding regarding the responsibility for a crime plan.
From the Jamaica Gleaner:
Prime Minister Bruce Golding is insisting that the development of a crime plan is not the remit of his administration, but that of the police.
National Security Minister Colonel Trevor MacMillan has also said the police have responsibility for the crime plan.
Questioned last night about his approach, Police Commissioner Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin referred to the five-point initiative, including community policing and the targeting criminal networks, which he announced shortly after assuming the post in December.
Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller has described the prime minister’s remarks as “careless and reckless”. She charged that the prime minister has a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the nation.
This is such a ridiculous assertion that I have decided to wait until the Jamaica House Live radio show where he made the remarks become available online to see if the comments meant something else in their full context. It seems to me that there is no way the PM could really be planning to call a general election this year if he is going to make silly remarks like that. I tend to support the PM given my great desire for change in Jamaica, but there is simply no precedent for this view; nor is it consistent with what Bruce Golding was saying before. Presumably the PM is referring to the constitutional provisions establishing the Police Service Commission, which also prohibits political interference in the police. But while operations (tactics) are the strict domain of the police commanders, the decision about the type of crime to focus on (strategy) is ultimately Bruce Golding’s responsibility. For example – the question of whether Jamaica focuses more military intelligence assets on the coastline to intercept the people importing guns from Haiti is a strategy question. Whether they use planted surveillance cameras at the beach or roving human surveillance is a tactics question.
This is a truly sad assertion by the PM. It is reminiscent of Mrs. Simpson-Miller’s famous “Ask the PNP” line when asked if the Trafigura money had been returned. Unfortunately no reporter was enterprising enough to immediately ask the lady concurrently serving as PNP president the same question.
In fact, as a reminder of why we need greater multimedia integration in the online news from Jamaica, this is not what the PM was saying in the last general election. While running, he sounded confident that he was aware where the ultimate responsibility for a crime plan/strategy lay.
What next Bruce? Will you dig in and defensively proclaim you’re “not changing no course” on crime? Hopefully the PM will step up and proclaim dat the dollar coin stop wid him.
Mi nuh like di way dis a go at all.