Jamaica – Politics, Police and Crime: When Roots, Reggae artist Protégé penned the song “Blood Money Run Ja.”, few understand the truism in the verses of that song and how the lethal combination of police, politics, crime and the social fallout from colonization has caused a potentially great and beautiful country to be a failed State or on the cusp of being there.
I decided to write this piece, after listening to a journalist, who asked the Mayor of Spanish Town (on an evening programme) whether or not he is aware of extortion in the municipality over which he presides as Mayor. What appears to be a shocking answer of “not aware” stoked the wrath and disbelief of the hosts of the show. To understand that answer, one must assume that the Mayor is either naïve or unaware, despite a public face at anti-crime marches organized by the churches. The truth is that, it has been long known that crime, extortion racket and other attendant underhand dealing in that town, is done with the full knowledge of the political directorate of both parties in that municipality and the police. The criminals provide services for which they are paid, directly or indirectly, with the full support of the police and the politicians with a symbiotic type relationship.
The two major gangs aligned to both political parties are beneficiaries of contracts and subcontracts directly from council or all construction projects that the councils approve. The police benefits by providing protection for criminals or participating in the illegal activities, either as subcontractors or suppliers of services. In all cases the politician, police and criminals get their share of the spoils of extortion, padded contracts or forceful extraction of funds from projects or takeover sand mining or any other related activities.
We are told that usually a Superintendent is placed in that parish to protect the economic interest of all parties, including their superiors. Crime is turned on or off by the complicity of these rotten arrangements and the only ones who suffer are decent, law abiding citizens who have nowhere to hide, to report to, but to cower in fear. It is so bad, that it is said there is One Order and Clans Man police.
Politics: To look at the reason for this mess, you have to look at the lifestyle and acquisitions of the politicians in those zones as well as of the police of houses, properties, businesses that they could never attain from the salary they earn. In fact these acquisitions are not noted by the society as part of the economics of crime, this in a country where a policeman can acquire a 80-million dollar home from a 3-million dollar salary, a politician likewise by extorting a housing developer a few houses for his approval of a development, hence men move from low income to high income in one term, criminals acquire assets in the millions per day by taxing poor people and murdering innocent citizens to maintain the environment of fear in which they thrive; in all cases driven by blood money.
If we should do a simple exercise of looking at people in politics, senior police, criminals where they live and how they acquire same, then we would see the truism in the song referenced earlier, we would see the massive money laundering scheme being run through Parish Councils via approval of projects by the underworld and the attendant bribes collected. We are in a race to hell as a country and if we look to the present political order and arrangements for answers, then nothing will change.
At some point we have to ask ourselves, do we want to live in Jamaica in a harmonious society or are we prepared to flee to the basements of major metropolis as a way out of this mess. If the answer is the former, then all well thinking Jamaicans must rise and bond together and jettison this corrupt cabal out of the way of the growth and development of our country once and for all. It’s not going to be easy, since these arrangements have gotten entrenched and maybe U.S. may have to once again intervene on the side of the people to slay this monster once and for all. This is a cry from the women, children, elderly and decent law abiding Jamaicans who are saying enough is enough, cut the blood money developments.