Although it’s rather early in the PLP administration, I feel compelled to call out Dr. BJ Nottage, Minister of National Security, for some of his more recent actions and comments.
You see, as Minister of National Security your words and actions take on added meaning and as a result they are open to interpretation.
Every action is symbolic and can have unintended ramifications.
The two previous Ministers of National Security learned this the hard way.
The Actions of Former Minister of National Security
Who can forget the then new Minister of National Security Cynthia “mother” Pratt’s face beaming at us from the front pages as she posed with notorious drug-lord Samuel ’90’ Knowles at HMP.
Tommy Turnquest’s statement that there was no need to worry about crime because it was criminals killing criminals for the most part.
The Message Sent By Those Actions
In the first instance Mother Pratt’s statement sent a chilling message to the local and international community.
The message was that her party endorsed 90 Knowles and might very well be in bed with him. It also sent an alarming message to the youth that 90 had clout in th highest echelons of the government.
The United States was quick to address in an official statement to the government.
In the 2nd instance, Tommy Turnquest implied that crime was not an issue because it was just criminals killing criminal.
While it might have been technically true, coming out and making that statement gave the impression that the minister and hence the government had no plan for crime.
It also gave the criminals the impression that they were winning and could act with impunity.
Well more people died and the voters responded by voting Tommy Turnquest and his government out.
The Actions of Dr. BJ Nottage
So here comes the newly appointed Minister of National Security and what’s the first thing he does?
Goes on a tour of HMP and talks about how horrible the conditions are for criminals as a result of the FNM getting tough crime laws!
Are you #@^%!* kidding me?!
Let me be clear, it is horrible that 6 men are in a cell meant for 2. I get that.
I get that these people will eventually finish their sentences and if we dehumanize them they will just return to the streets angrier and more likely to commit crime.
I get that.
Dr. Nottage Sending the Wrong Message
But what I don’t get for the life me is why in a climate where everyone is fed up with crime, where everyone wants some reassurance that our government will finally get this crime situation dealt with, where criminals are running rampant on the streets, why would you want to go and side with the criminals.
Dr Nottage here’s what your actions say to me;
- You are more concerned for the criminals
- You will not hold them accountable
- You are soft on crime
I will not call for the resignation of BJ Nottage yet though, perhaps he’s just making a rookie mistake like Mother Pratt.
My Suggestion for The Good Dr.
But I have a suggestion for you sir,
Why don’t you go tour the police college or police barracks and talk about how your government is serious about crime and vow to support the police with all the resources necessary, or the best training, etc
Go boost the morale of the people struggling to keep us safe rather than the people trying to rob, rape, and kill us.