In deadly circumstances we remain our own worst enemies!

The recent violent death of 16-year-old Christal St. Omer was at once horrific and sad—as were the deadly incidents that preceded or immediately followed it. The police appear to be working at break-neck speed to satisfy the nation’s expressed need for a rapid resolution of the first-mentioned incident at Cap Estate (what a horrifying reputation we’ve given one of our leading tourism attractions.) But while the reported police effort may be worthy of praise, we should nevertheless be careful what we pray for. Even when they occur in jurisdictions far more resourceful than ours, murder investigations demand time for meticulous analyses of possible evidence.
Prosecutors are not helped, neither is the cause of justice served, by people who mindlessly broadcast sensitive details over the airwaves. In a country small as ours, care must also be taken not to contaminate the jury pool. It may also be worth reminding the media to be careful not to appear concerned about one murder at the expense of others, some of which have never been resolved, just forgotten.
The detailed media reports about both the St Omer incident and that of a police officer allegedly fatally shot as he lay asleep in his bed are cause for pause. One TV station actually interviewed close relatives of the deceased officer, who repeatedly delivered up details of his relationship with his wife, a possible suspect.
Meanwhile, the press appears not the least concerned about several other homicides. What exactly is the position with the five citizens fatally shot close to a year ago, allegedly by the police during an aborted burglary? If media personnel do not insist on answers it is unlikely they will be volunteered.
And now a word about our politicians: how silent they are amidst the popular hue and cry! Both parties have in the past sought to score politically from the number of violent crimes committed under their watch. Especially in the last several months leading up to the last elections, opposition supporters had gone as far as publicly accusing the police of playing down crime figures in the government’s best interests. The press was similarly painted.
Some overzealous followers of the then opposition blamed what was described as “gang warfare” on particular government ministers that they openly referred to as “criminals.” Indeed, that word was to be heard at nearly every sitting of the House throughout 2011.
Thankfully, an anti-crime campaign launched by the government in the last few months before the elections insisted that politicians on both sides cease and desist.  The campaign underscored the fact that whenever a crime is committed in this country we the people lose. Coincidence or not, it is a fact that neither the Labour Party nor the United Workers Party has seen fit to address publicly the almost weekly “homicides,” the hastily determined “suicides,” the “accidents.”
Why not? Perhaps the opposition wishes not to be accused of doing what it had condemned in office. Perhaps they wish not to appear to be scoring points with every public announcement of murder and mahem.
As for the government, one will resist speculating on the reasons for its near silence when all around them the nation is in mourning. In all events, this is a time when both sides of the political divide should come together and with one voice loudly condemn the senseless violence that seems destined soon to grow worse. More than that, they should be seen to be combining their anti-crime effort.
Meanwhile the police are quietly hinting at gang warfare. But how do they know? And if they do know, are they acting on their information? In more resourceful countries, the police infiltrate their gangs and talk about gang warfare only when they have proof of such activity.
Here, much of what the cops say is speculative. Much of  what the politicians tell us is, well, political.
Meanwhile, the media depend on our police public relations people and on the government’s image makers for news of what’s affecting us in the worst way.
Lord help us!

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