Nelson Mandela’s death will have struck many as the saddest event this week and for some time. I don’t want to categorise it, but want to make sure that I note it. Mr. Mandela and Jamaica were close friends, and Jamaican politicians and artistes (musical and pictoral) were amongst the earliest and fervent supporters of the struggle of blacks in South Africa to overturn the Apartheid system, through boycotts and publicising its injustice. Madiba, we will miss you!
Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, launched a series of anti-crime initiatives (see a great summary on Petchary’s Blog). Murders are hitting a crazy rate. Public concerns include the low rate of clear-up of such crime, but the police senior officials don’t seem able to agree amongst themselves what that rate is, with two deputy commissioners citing 29% and about 50%. Both can’t be right, and if senior officials are not agreed on how they are measuring this aspect that is not encouraging. This is the kind of internal disagreement that erodes public confidence in the police’s grip on crime problems.
Trinidad’s Security Minister (Griffiths) had to make it clear that his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (Dookeran) was not the man to decide how potential immigrants to that country would be treated, and therefore had no business making commitments to Jamaica on that without at least consulting with him. His choice of words (Trinidad is “not a mall where anyone will be allowed entry”, and talking about “undesirables”) was undiplomatic, which is why he’s not in charge of foreign affairs. Jamaicans are still bristling at the regional dislike that seems to be facing them, and some Opposition politicians are ready to go on the ‘warpath’ to show those Trinis that Jamaicans have had enough of this apparent bias against them. Sorry to say it, though, we are reaping what we have allowed to be sown by not dealing with some of our social problems and letting them flourish abroad.
Speaking of social problems…Sexual assault of three female students of a prominent St Catherine school by a gunman on Thursday has left worried residents demanding urgent action that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrator.