Sunday 13 October, 2019

Jackson launches broadside against ‘hypocrisy’ in Parliament

Fitz Jackson

Fitz Jackson

Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson, on Tuesday launched a broadside against his fellow parliamentarians, accusing them of hypocrisy during the debate on the Bill to establish the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as an independent organisation.

Jackson said the development was welcomed, and should mean a levelling of the playing field, as too many Jamaicans are of the view that some persons in high places are above the law and beyond prosecution.

The Bill was eventually passed with bipartisan support, but not before Jackson, when he was interrupted while making his presentation, told one of his colleagues that he was “lucky” to have his freedom. It was not immediately clear what Jackson meant by the comment.

However, he was quite clear in his reference to a prominent attorney whom he noted was not charged with an offence nearly a year after a man was found dead inside his upper St Andrew apartment. Jackson questioned what the authorities were waiting for, contending that “there was no forced entry to the house”.

He declared that: “When Jamaicans see these things happen, if we don’t state it, it doesn’t mean that the people don’t know. That’s why I mentioned about the hypocrisy, because we believe that if we keep quiet (and) don’t say anything, nobody knows, and it just goes away, but people know these things, and they see it happen, and that’s why they lose trust in us; all of us,” Jackson stated.

In an emotional presentation, Jackson said: “They lose faith in the system; that’s at the heart of it, and many of the time we are being hypocritical in this place (Parliament), because we know those things to be true, and because of who it, is we keep quiet and the rest of the country knows. That’s where the hypocrisy lies. That’s what is haunting us as a country.”

To much applause from his Opposition colleagues, Jackson said: “Not until we decide to be sincere and honest and say some of these things straight up, we are not going to earn the confidence of the Jamaican people.”

He lamented that citizens will not give information to the security forces if some persons, because of their station in life, are seemingly allowed to get away with anything.

“That’s why I welcome this piece of legislation where we have an investigative authority that doesn’t look on who (the person is,” Jackson commented.

The opposition spokesman said that, “while we mourn the murders, and while we talk about the importance of fighting crime and violence, if we are not prepared to face some things straight up and call a spade a spade and change our ways, we are going nowhere very fast.”

He said, “We are guilty by commission, and we are also guilty by omission”.

And Jackson was not done.

“If we are really serious about making this Bill work, and causing investigations to occur, and (punishment of) those who are guilty of heinous crimes and other criminal activities like lottery scamming etc, let us come to the point that no one is excluded.

“Some people who are walking around should be behind bars (because) they are criminals.  And only when you have strong, investigative authority can that come to an end,” he added.

Jackson concluded by stating that, “I am sick and tired of talk, talk, talk, when we know what is to be done, but we are not doing it.”

Among other things, the MOCA Bill provides for the establishment of a statutory law enforcement agency, which will have operational independence and authority, and be dedicated to combating serious crime, in collaboration with other local and foreign law enforcement agencies and strategic partners.

The elite agency will have a dedicated, specialised team of investigators, and it will investigate and prosecute complex cases mainly involving organised criminal networks.

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