Obeah Security Minister

National Security Minister Robert Montague has invoked the shady practice of obeah to frighten criminals, demonstrating that he is a desperate man.

And so he should be. As should the rest of us.

One is unclear how serious the minister was being in his words aimed at criminals: 

“Unnu goin’ run weh because we goin’ to pursue unnu. This minister no fraid a unnu, my uncle is a obeah man,” he said in a speech to participants at an interactive session with heads of the security forces this week.

But we have concluded that the minister did not mean to say his obeah man uncle would be roped in as part of the fight against crime, because the practice of obeah often borders on the criminal, with shysters and charlatans fleecing vulnerable people of their hard-earned cash and kind.

The minister is more likely to be signalling that the fight against crime continues to be an uphill climb for which the solution is nowhere in sight

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And that is even after the Government just last week indicated in the first supplementary estimates that it will be spending approximately $5.5 billion more in the 2016/17 budget to increase the capacity of the security forces to combat crime and violence.

Which, by the way, shows that the Government has heard the cries of the society and is getting ready to take the fight to the criminals. They will need all our support.

Mr Montague’s obeah man statement, perhaps intended to elicit laughter, contrasts sharply with the very serious-minded statements by Mr Rodney Pryce, more popularly known as the dancehall deejay Bounty Killer and his colleague Mr Desmond Ballentine, called Ninjaman.

Both of them who spoke at the same function as Minister Montague, highlighted poverty as the main cause of crime, that people needed to start caring for the young in the community, and that members of the security forces needed to be better compensated for their work.

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We commend Mr Pryce’s words to our readers: “The mother and the parent of crime is poverty. And until the Government starts to battle poverty the right way we are always going to be locking up criminals…Taking criminals off the street is a good thing, but there are things in society that lead and motivate [others] to go on the street as well, and we have to defuse those.”

“Let’s start making the village raise the child again. Last year was a gruesome year with killings. The police, the soldiers, the security forces, they are playing their part; we as society have to play our part as well.”

No less direct, Mr Ballentine chided the Independent Commission of Investigations for putting what he described as unwarranted pressure on police seeking to uphold the law:

“The first step in getting rid of crime is to make your police more independent. Unnu need fi set up something where the police become more independent. …If mi nuh have nuh Benz, mi nuh live nuh weh, and mi can par with a man weh make mi can hype, mi a go live my life, because mi naah get up every day with gun pon my hip a run down thief and mi naah get pay,
” he declared.

We do well to heed his words. 

Jamaicaobserver.com

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