Chuck calls on persons to share information with the police safely
As the nation continues to grapple with the rise in crime and violence and a greater need to implement more preventative measures to cauterise the upsurge, Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck is encouraging citizens to play their role to ensure safer communities by sharing critical information in a safe space.
The justice minister said persons of integrity in the communities can be the collectors and bearers of the information, rather than have those with firsthand knowledge always being pressed to speak with the police.
“I am not saying you must go on the television and on the radio and name the gunman; that is exposing yourself to danger. And when you see something or you know that a gun has been hidden, we are not telling you to tell everyone you told the police; that is stupid. What we are saying is that the informer who would have seen the illegality must find an appropriate means to tell an elder, a teacher, even the custos … who will then pass it on to the police.”
Speaking at the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) forum on Friday in Mandeville, which was spearheaded by Custos of Manchester Garfield Green, Chuck said individuals must be bold in speaking out discreetly against all forms of criminality, a move which could save them from becoming victims.
“We cannot all be lambs to the slaughter, and if we are going to be fearful of criminals, they will kill and eat us because the criminals are heartless and they don’t mean anybody any good. When people go out to kill and shoot, they don’t even care if they get the target. If anyone gets hurt it is just collateral damage,” he said.
PENALTY FOR MISPRISION
The justice minister used the opportunity to further remind citizens that it is an offence to willingly withhold information that is critical to the maintenance of law and order.
“Anyone who sees a crime committed and fails to report it can easily be charged with the crime of misprision … . And what the Ministry of Justice will do is heighten that penalty for misprision soon … .”
He said that Jamaica maintains a very effective witness protection programme, which continues to help in the clear-up of major cases.
“If you notice, the gang trials are virtual because the witnesses are not here. They are elsewhere. I can’t tell you whether they are in Russia, Estonia or Australia, but they are not in Jamaica, and that is the extent to which we protect them … . If those witnesses had not come forward, many of those cases would not have been brought to trial.”
Chuck underscored the importance of having citizens utilise the ministry’s services in restorative justice, mediation and child diversion.
“I am not saying you must do police work, but some of these minor wrongdoings you can take to these ADR services… If you see criminality and don’t report it, it will go unresolved and they (criminals) become professionals, consistently committing the act.
“This idea about informer fi dead must go away… I tell the world I am the biggest informer, and that is why we have peace and quiet in Barbican, Grants Pen, Shortwood. Because anybody that know about wrongdoing, if you don’t go straight to the police, you tell me and I report it to the police,” he ended.