Show us your firmer hand, Mr AG
Times have definitely changed.
Gone, it would seem, are the days when accused persons would bow their heads in shame at the sight of a court photographer, and when all you needed to take with you to a fete was a cheerful dance partner, along with a hanky to wipe away any gathering beams of sweat from your brow.
If yesterday’s court appearance by the double murder accused Shamar Antonio Lynch is anything to go by, there is a growing cavalier attitude from elements among us accused of serious crimes which we had better pay attention to.
As disconcerting as it would seem that a judge had granted him bail on a previous murder charge, much worse still was seeing multiple images of an openly smiling and chest-thumping Lynch drawing encouragement from a large gathering of family and friends, as he exited the precincts of the court in response to the second such accusation.
Add to that dramatic performance, yesterday morning’s police raid at the Party Stand, which glaringly displays that our young men and women are heading out to fetes with a whole lot more on their minds than just having a good time.
Why else would anyone even think of going to a fete with that sort of weaponry? We are talking here about guns, knives, pairs of scissors, a ski mask, and, of course, a night’s serving of drugs (not of the prescribed kind).
These are all worrying signs of the times, which means that we have to take fresh guard.
You don’t want to go in search of a good time, only to be caught unawares by someone who is just out to spoil the fun, and possibly even maim or injure you permanently.
Heaven forbid you are in the dance hall and mistakenly stand on someone’s feet! It’s all bloody frightening to think what the current response would be, and worse yet, what recourse, if any, there will be for the injured party in an atmosphere where the rights of accused and, discomfitingly those of the criminal element are not unpronounced. Yet, we advocate no reason for anyone to take matters into his or her own hands.
Going forward,there will need to be a lot more vigilance on the part of us all, not only party organisers.
We have already heard the assurances from Chetwyn Stewart that female patrons to the Party Stand may soon experience more diligent searches of their person if they expect to enter events. The reason for this? Women are believed to be behind the most recent security lapse and may have been the ones taking in the weapons on behalf of their male companions.
How can the authorities adequately ensure there is no repeat of this worrying situation? A firmer hand will have to be brought to bear on these and other vexing security matters by our law enforcers, chief of whom is our Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, who will have to provide leadership in wrestling these problems to the ground.
Needless to say, it is not enough from him to express concern about the current lapses in the system, or to even highlight what he sees as present shortcomings in terms of implementation.
If, as he says, he is unhappy that it is currently within the jurisdiction of local judges to award bail to murder offenders, then don’t just talk about it, bring the necessary amendment to the Bail Act. Certainly, there is enough recent evidence of persons acting in breach of their bail terms to support such a change and keep capital accused behind bars.
Indeed, one is left to ponder if the state itself is not also culpable in circumstances where persons run afoul of the legislation that pertains to the issuance of bail.
It is now an urgent necessity for us to pull this society back before things get any more out of control.
To put it more pointedly, we need to stop talking the talk, and walk the walk, and where necessary
drive more fear into the hearts of the perpetrators, so they will think twice about acting as they now are.
While a person is innocent until proven guilty, never let it be said that we have become too soft on criminality.