Is it time to bring in the troops?
With crime in this country seemingly trending upwards, threatening potential direct investment in Jamaica and stifling growth, and with the government seemingly unable to come to grips with it, is it time that we seek outside intervention?
June was not only the hottest month ever in the history of recording temperatures on this planet, but it was extremely hot in terms of the number of murders committed in Jamaica.
Well over 100 homicides were reported, and all we continue to hear from the government is rhetoric.
Meanwhile, potential investors are watching with great concern. One of those investors with tens of millions of US dollars to spend, personally told me a couple of nights ago that they are very concerned.
They have a couple of major projects in the pipeline that would likely employ hundreds of Jamaicans at all levels, but to me it sounds like they might be having second thoughts.
"Bring in 4,000 soldiers and sweep that country," he said to me, "because it's (expletive) my business plan economics."
I am sure there are many other investors looking on and having similar thoughts.
However, does my investor friend have a point? From where would we bring in these soldiers?
Jamaica has many friends; a few have the resources to lend us a hand in cleaning up this crime mess. The question is, would they offer that kind of help if asked?
How would thousands of foreign soldiers 'sweep' Jamaica'? Would it be like the US in Iraq, a battle dragging on for years?
More importantly, do we really need to take it to that level? I mean, we rolled out the army last year and had a measure of success, but as soon as they were gone things quickly returned to the way they were before.
Clearly, effectively fighting crime means more than just rolling out the troops.
We have some wiggle room when it comes to spending. Could we now afford the kind of social programmes necessary to provide opportunities and ease the frustrations of the most vulnerable in our society?
We all know some of our politicians and police officers are in bed with some of the most vicious criminals. Is there a way to expose them and break those ties? Do we have the collective will to do it?
The solutions seem to be elusive, and, in the meantime, people like my friend might start thinking it might be better to take their millions elsewhere.
Because why should people invest in us when we seem so reluctant to invest in our future and ourselves?
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