Constitutional Supremacy still reigns Above all

The Constitution is the organic and fundamental law of the State, and it is the most important dictionary that every citizen of a country should examine. It is the defining source of law that contains the fundamental rights of every Jamaican citizen.  It organizes the government and regulates and limits the functions of the arms of government and sovereign powers. This powerful legal document is an umbrella that safeguards citizens’ rights from being attacked by the corruptive forces that operate within the legal and political environment. Historically, the Jamaican Constitution symbolizes the transition from the hands of the British colonial rulers and the chains of injustice and servitude to an independent, self-governing society. In fact, the Jamaican Constitution came into force with the Jamaican Independence Act, 1962 of the United Kingdom Parliament, which gave the country its political independence. It contains ten chapters including, Interpretation and Effect, Citizenship, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights, chapters outlining the responsibilities of the Governor General, Executive Powers, Judication, Finance and the Public Service. Jamaica as a Commonwealth Caribbean Territory adheres to the doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy whereby the Constitution validates all laws. Essentially, political rules and norms are accentuated by the Constitution’s written character, and stiffness and rigidity of the law wouldn’t be possible without it. Constitutional supremacy has a substantial significance on the creation and interpretation of laws in Jamaica, and this principle is highlighted in the case of Collymore v AG “No one, not even Parliament can disobey the Constitution with impunity. The Constitution is therefore the ultimate source of power and authority.”

Parliament cannot legislate laws that abrogate the fundamental rights of the citizens that are protected by the doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy. Ultimately, Parliament can only exercise its function within the boundary of the Constitution. The Constitution can be likened to that of a mother, and she lays down all the rules and procedures that her son which is Parliament is bound to follow. Obviously the Constitution is the parent law and Parliament cannot break its rules. Constitutional Supremacy is very instrumental because it prevents abuse and injustice from persons of higher authority. The Constitution gives parliament the authority to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Jamaica. With this power, they cannot contravene the valuable rights of the Jamaican citizens as listed in the Bill of Rights. Chapter III of the Jamaican Constitution sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Jamaican citizen, and it is mentioned that “the state has an obligation to promote universal respect for, and observance of human rights and freedoms”. The words ‘respect’ and ‘obligation’ are crucial to the understanding of that section. It is the responsibility of the Jamaican authorities to show respect to the fundamental rights of Jamaican citizens and allow citizens to feel encouraged knowing that persons with a higher authority are not abusing their rights. Under Chapter III, s (2) (a) of the Jamaican Constitution “Parliament shall pass no law and no organ of the State shall take any action which abrogates, abridges or infringes those rights.” If Parliament decides to pass an Act entitled the ‘Passport Provisions Act’ and a section of that Act states that “Citizens with no CXC passes should not be granted passports”. That Act would then be void because a section of it does not conform to the provisions of the Jamaican Constitution which indicates the “right of every citizen of Jamaica to be granted a passport and not to be denied or deprived thereof except by due process of law.” The Gun Court Act 1974 was found to be ultra vires as a certain clause of the Act conflicted with the Jamaican Constitution as argued in the case of Hinds v R. The Act had disregarded the men’s constitutional right of having a fair trial, and therefore that clause of the Gun Court Act became void. In Hinds v R, It was brought forward that

“The Provisions of the Act which provided for the establishment of a Full Court Division consisting of three Resident Magistrates were in conflict with the Constitution of Jamaica and, thereof, void since their practical consequence was to give to a court composed of members of the lower judiciary jurisdiction to try and to punish by penalties, extending the offences to imprisonment for like, all criminal offences, however grave, apart from murder or treason, committed by any person who had also committed an offence under s. 20 of the Firearms Act 1967…The Parliament of Jamaica cannot, consistently with the separation of powers transfer from the judiciary to an executive body whose members are not appointed under Chapter VII of the Constitution a discretion to determine the severity of the punishment to be inflicted upon an individual member of a class of offenders.”

Henceforth, the power of the Constitution still stands; it has the highest authority and other laws are inferior to it making it the supreme law of the land. Correspondingly, the Constitution of Jamaica is a fence that secures individual rights from being exploited by higher authority, and that authority cannot breach those individual rights by passing laws that are not in line with the Constitution. And even if the citizens’ rights are contravened, the Constitution offers remedies for the breach of rights and gives citizens the opportunity to appeal case decisions to higher jurisdictions. This ensures that citizens’ rights are protected and that they are not abused by the law. Whenever Parliament decides to enforce legislation, it must adhere to the regulations provided by the Constitution, so that it does not repudiate the citizens’ fundamental human rights. Dragne in her International Journal of Juridical Sciences argued that

“The Constitution is the fundamental document that enjoys supremacy over all other legal acts. Supremacy of the Constitution is a complex concept whose content we find in its political and legal values, showing the dominance of the Constitution in the legal system, but also in the entire socio-political system of a state…the Constitution is the supreme law in the state and has an essential role in organizing the entire socio-political system, legal, economic and cultural center of the state. The Constitution is the source of all regulations in the economic, political, social and legal. Supremacy of the Constitution is a legal political group and is based on the totality of scientific “of economic, social, political and legal factors are closely related and interaction and to be seen in relation to the constitution of their indivisibility.”  

As a matter of fact, this philosophical ideology of the Constitutional supremacy remains paramount. Parliament in no manner can abuse the rights of the Jamaican Citizens, and it is the Jamaican Constitution that gave Parliament the power to enact laws and not to contravene the substantial rights of the ordinary man. In the past, Parliament have passed laws that have contravened the rights of some Jamaican Citizens that were disregarded by the Constitutional Supremacy. According to an article in the Gleaner

“The Supreme Court ruled last June on a motion brought before it by a pair of lawyers that aspects of the crime bills dealing with bail, which had been passed by the Parliament to beef up the fight against crime, were unconstitutional. Several laws of Jamaica, particularly in the anti-corruption domain, have reversed the sacrosanct common-law principles of being innocent until proven guilty and of the burden of proof resting with the accuser, not the accused. Bruce Golding, while prime minister, publicly acknowledged this, but justified its necessity. Not every law is lawful as far as conformity to the superior principle of the rule of law is concerned.”

Likewise, the Judiciary arm of government is vested with the authority to interpret case decisions in respect to the provisions of the Constitution. Judges are not authorised to make laws, nonetheless they should find law in previously decided cases to base their final decisions. This is the principle of judicial precedent and is binding precedent or stare decisis which means standing by decisions. It is the duty of the court to interpret legislation and cases in line with the Constitution so that the parties of a case are given a fair trial. When the judge of the Supreme Court rules on a Constitutional issue, that judgement is automatically final and cannot be overruled by any other law. If the Constitution says that X is entitled to a sum of $1000.00 if Y trespasses on his property, the court must interpret the case of X and Y in line with that Constitutional rule. The Judge cannot pass a new law that says X is entitled to a sum of $500.00 if Y trespasses on his property, that law is not in the Constitution and it can only be void. Whittington in his journal North Carolina Law Review highlighted that

“…the Constitution is understood to stand above and against politics, a legal constraint on the power of democracy and elected officials. The judiciary emerges naturally from this perspective as an essential guardian of the constitutional order. By issuing authoritative interpretations of the Constitution, the judiciary, and especially the Supreme Court, is thought to circumscribe the sphere of politics with legal norms and ensure that the fundamental principles are respected.” Equally, Constitutional Supremacy allows for the equilibrium of power to flourish among the three branches of government. Even though the doctrine of separation of powers is not explicit within the Jamaican Constitution, this philosophical ideology still stands, and one arm of government cannot exercise the powers of the other that is fulfilled by the Jamaican Constitution.  The doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy and the separation of powers doctrine are the cornerstone of the Jamaican Constitution, establishing the Westminster style of government under which the country is governed. The Jamaican Constitutional system incorporates many of the traditions of the British Colonial System, as brought to the Jamaican shores upon colonisation. Equally, Constitutional Supremacy is particularly focused on imposing limits on the government in an effort to ensure that there is restriction on the exercise of excessive and arbitrary power. Magill in her University of Virginia School of Law Public Law and legal Theory Working papers defined the separation of powers doctrine as

“…a theory about the appropriate allocation of government authority among the institutions of the national government. It means, on the one hand, classification of governmental power into three categories, among the institutions…Separation of powers, so described, is concerned with an almost limitless set of questions regarding the structure of each institution (elected or appointed), including in some cases the internal structure of the institutions’ respective powers (legislative, executive, judicial; and the ways in which the institutions interact with one another…”  

The judiciary being the most important arm of the separation of powers ensures that legislative and executive powers are checked, and interprets the laws in conformity with the Jamaican Constitution, and apply them equally to the citizens of the Country. Specifically, the executive cannot determine the severity of punishment for an accused person as that function is not within their limits and can only be exercised by the judiciary arm. Henceforth, judges are not vested with the power to create laws but to use past decisions to determine the conclusion of a judicial proceeding. Ideally, the framers of the Constitution created it in regards to the functionalist sociological theory which explains that society is comprised of different groups regardless of socio-economic background that work together to achieve a goal. This theory can be aligned with the Jamaican Constitution as each branch of government exercise their powers independently for society’s stability. The arms of government should interpret statutes in line with the policies underlying the authorial structure of the Constitution, and the Constitution explicitly states the inherent powers of each branch. The Constitution as the defining law of the land creates boundaries among the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government to ensure that the general powers of one branch does not overlap the more specific powers of the other branch. Significantly, there should be no statute passed in Jamaica that should inappropriately restrict the power of one arm of government from accomplishing its essential Constitutional functions. This is evident in the case of Hinds v R in which the Gun Court Act of 1974 was found to be unconstitutional as the Act allowed the executive arm of government to extend its powers by fulfilling the constitutional functions of the judiciary. The Act violated the separation of powers doctrine enshrined in the Jamaican Constitution by allowing Resident Magistrates jurisdiction that was authorised for Supreme Court judges under the Constitution. In general, the Constitution ensures that autonomy is given to the judiciary arm by the establishment of a Supreme Court that consist of judges and that their tenure is secured through the establishment of an independent Judicial Commission. 

 Given these points, Constitutional Supremacy still reigns above other laws, and those laws are inferior to the general principles contained within the Jamaican Constitution Parliament and other body with high authority cannot enforce laws that breach the citizen’s rights, as those rights are protected by the Jamaican Constitution, and the Constitution has the highest authority of the land. Constitutional Supremacy does have tremendous impact on the way laws are made and interpreted in the Jamaican Society, making it the cornerstone of the society and the Supreme law of the land. All other laws should derive their authority from this authorial written document before they come into existence. Judges should interpret case decisions in line with the provisions of the Jamaican Constitution so as to give persons a fair trial.

NCU Student Triumphs over adversity

Nicola Brown, a final year Communication Studies student at the Northern Caribbean University, has endured it all.

She has won the races of financial challenges, depression, and the rigors of finding a job and survived a near-death-experience. Brown proves to all that resilience, and making the best out of opportunities are the primary ingredients in the recipe for success.

Before coming to NCU, Brown had applied for the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies, and was accepted by UTECH in 2012. However, she couldn’t attend university at the time as she struggled financially.

“I’d applied for UTECH but due to circumstances beyond my control, financial constraints, I was unable to attend. At the time I can remember quite vividly, I’d applied for the program of Hospitality and Tourism because I had a dream of becoming a hotel manager, so I’d applied for UTECH, got accepted, but I wasn’t able to attend because at the time I think the enrolment fee was something like $15000,” Brown said.

And even though the situation had affected her life, it provided her with the opportunity of job hunting.

“I started looking for jobs. I started a job hunt, and at one point I sent out applications like crazy until I felt like there was no way out or there was no other way.”

One day she got up early in the morning to go to May Pen to drop off an application which she had written because she didn’t have a laptop.

Depression was overwhelming her life, and the job- hunting process was never an easy one. She dropped off the application form at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority office.

Afterward, she continued her journey and started searching for the National Housing Trust office, and at this point met a near-death- experience.

“I never felt it, but I just heard when somebody shouted come outa the road, lady ya ediat, so then and there I found out it was me going off on the road. I was wondering, but a vehicle was coming behind me that could have probably hit me down, but the man was saying to me come out the road.”

Despite that, she got a call from the Coffee Industry Board that she had gotten the job. During the interview, the employer told her that the job would provide her with the opportunity of travelling to Guatemala, which in the long run turned into a beneficial encounter for her.

Eventually, she started working as a coffee barista, where she travelled to Guatemala for a one-week training.

Brown still had high hopes of attending university. She then applied for the University of Tampa in Florida and got accepted. However, her mother informed her about the Northern Caribbean University and said she should apply as it was closer to home.

And out of enthusiasm, Brown then set foot on the beacon on the hill to start her application process. After receiving the long-awaited acceptance letter, Brown decided to begin her educational journey at the institution to study journalism.

She mentioned that she had always adored journalism, but was continually avoiding it as she was never a talkative person.

And while at the institution, she started working at the NCU Media Group where she worked with the news room and acquired the skill of audio editing.

Brown who lives by the philosophy “Be the change you wish to see in this world” does not believe in procrastination and accepts that a solid responsibility made towards accomplishing a goal is the best approach to progress.

Brown explained that she had stumbled upon experiences at university that made her feel like giving up. One such experience was when she had done the course Television Broadcasting 1 and received an assignment to edit a production piece, but due to her drive for success, she had started the assignment early.

And so, with the help of others, had completed her project. But when she was ready to give her assignment on a DVD, everything went blank, and the assignment was due the following day.

This was another catastrophe for Brown.

“I didn’t know what to do, I wanted to cry, I wanted to go home, but I never know what to do. I was at NCU newsroom where I worked; I got help from a few of my Co-workers and they could help me. I was reluctant. I was here until 11 pm the night … I felt sleepy, I was tired, I felt hungry, I felt drained… but I told myself that I just had to get this done.”

When she started NCU, she had set goals in pursuit of her dreams and was determined to face the obstacles that stood in her way.

The 26-year -old smiled as she recalled the moment she started NCU, and she spoke wholeheartedly.

“I made up my mind for some things since I started NCU. I said to myself I will never ever re-sit a course, and I don’t want any C’s in any course because of course I’m not swimming.”

These challenges pushed her to the brink of giving up, but as a devoted Christian she informed that God had always been her guide.

“On a daily basis I’ve encountered challenges when I come on Campus. I feel like giving up because my rent is due, my internet bill is due, and I don’t have any food but you know the Lord always makes a way even in the midst of the darkness.”

Just like many achievers, she had a passion for success.

“When I started NCU I can remember there was a DCS general meeting as usual, and there was this girl in the meeting, her name is Janelle Lambert, and I can remember the day Janelle Lambert and Jevon Minto were the two Burgundy Jacket holders in 2014… they were a part of the Platinum Honouree list, and I said to myself that bwoy when I’m about to leave NCU, I want to be like them.”

The Burgundy Jacket and Platinum Honouree awards are presented to students of the Department of Communication Studies (DCS) who display exemplary academic pursuits, leadership skills and community involvement.

In 2017 Brown was chosen among the female list of students to become a Female Burgundy Jacket Holder for her department and awarded as Platinum Honouree student for the academic year of 2017-2018.

She shared that in order for persons to be successful they should have a productive mindset, and that failures are just the beginning of a new journey.

“Never be stagnant, keep focused, and keep your eyes on the prize, understand that life is just a road, and it’s a journey, and whenever you encounter failure it’s just to make you stronger.”

Vending in Mandeville: A thriving business

By: Sasha-Gay Edwards

Money haffi Mek!

Buyers interacting with vendors in the Mandeville market as they purchase ground provisions. (Photo: Sasha-Gaye Edwards)

Another Busy Day in the Sun

Vendor selling shopping bags and other items at the entrance of the Mandeville market. (Photo: Sasha-Gaye Edwards)

A Beautiful Display

Vendor displays her ground provisons for sale in the Mandeville market while she interracts with customer. (Photo: Sasha-Gaye Edwards)

Me aguh hustle di lickle money”, is a phrase that is used by many Jamaican vendors which means that they are eager to earn some cash as they prepare for another day of selling their items.

Likewise, vendors are seen almost every day in the town of Mandeville selling a variety of items including housing equipment, fruits and vegetables, snacks, and drinks that cool down persons as they journey in the boiling Mandeville heat.

In fact, vending is one of those viable economic activities in the parish in which persons from all walks of life ‘hustle’ as many Jamaicans would say to earn a living for themselves and their families.

As vending continues to flourish in Mandeville, it is also essential to note that vending originated from the days of British colonialism. During this period enslaved Africans devised creative measures of survival that eventually led to economic growth in the island.

Historically, enslaved Africans were not only revolutionaries who resisted their enslavement but were industrious producers of various goods and services.

While experiencing the hardships of enslavement, many enslaved Africans cultivated a variety of crops. Afterward, they sold these crops in the Sunday markets to the locals. The overseers of the estates saw this as a profitable venture as they had to keep the slave population as nourished as possible to sustain the plantation economy and to reduce the island’s dependency on imports. This arrangement facilitated an internal marketing system dominated by the enslaved Africans that is similar to vending today.

Sunday was a day for most economic activities as many enslaved Africans engaged in huckstering. Huckstering is the selling of goods in the market place or the selling of small items on the street from a stall. In fact, the marketing of agricultural produce by the enslaved Africans allowed retailers and merchants of all races to purchase these items and then export them on the international market.

Essentially, on the eve of emancipation enslaved Africans in Jamaica controlled close to 50% of the cash circulating on the Island. With that said, the post emancipation era resulted in an economic boom for the nation as an exodus of enslaved Africans had set themselves up as higglers and independent producers of various crops as they sold their goods on the outskirts of the plantations.

Accordingly, vending contributes significantly to the economic development in Mandeville. For many vendors in the parish, vending provides them with income that helps them to pay their bills, rent and to finance other expenses.

Vice President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Doreth Jones highlights that vending contributes to the economic development and standard of living in Mandeville. She says that vending is a feasible economic activity in Mandeville as households are supported by the income received and businesses in the town benefit by being the primary supplier of goods purchased by vendors. She also added that vending improves the social economic level in Mandeville as the percentage that is referenced there is at a large base.

She also says that vending in Mandeville helps to alleviate unemployment as it provides many opportunities for persons who want to obtain income and it also contributes to foreign exchange.

She also points out that vending offers an element of financial independence to some sectors, for example, supermarkets and wholesales benefit significantly from vending as vendors purchase most of their items from these entities.

As for some vendors in Mandeville, vending provides them with the opportunity of financing themselves.

They also mention that vending offers them the opportunity of being independent business persons who are not limited by time but who can earn as much income at their own pace without having to rush to get to work like that of a regular nine to five job.

Melva, a vendor who sells ground provisions such as yam, scallion, thyme, ginger and pepper in the Mandeville market shares her thoughts on how vending has assisted her and other vendors financially.

“It helps us to have money and it helps other people who come and buy who do not do farming and so on. We live from their money; they live from our goods,” She said.

She also states that vending helps to reduce unemployment as it improves the standard of living of many persons.

“It helps because you are independent and you can handle your own money, and you don’t have to depend on anyone, and it helps us to have something we can put on our pot on the fire, and if we owe any bills like JPS we can pay it; rent and so on we can pay it. And first of all, we can come out whenever time we wish, we are not at an obligation to come every day, or if we want to come every day we can come because if we even come every day we will have more money.”

Even though some vendors experience challenges with the Municipal authorities in Mandeville such as seizure of goods, they still see vending as an advantageous way of earning income for the benefit of both their social and economic well-being.

Marie, a market vendor selling in the Mandeville market shares that in spite of some of the challenges that she and other vendors face, vending plays a valuable role in the economic developments of their lives.

“We pay to come here to sell, and at the same time we have problems selling. Dem a tek weh the load suh yuh naa mek nuh money, but other than that yuh can pay yuh bill, buy lickle food and guh a docta,” She said.

As can be seen, vending as an economic activity in Mandeville is a beneficial and profitable venture seeing that it does contribute to the overall economic growth in the town. And through vending vendors benefit significantly as they are able to finance themselves in a number of ways. Also, vending helps to reduce unemployment, and other businesses in Mandeville benefit from the earnings of vendors.

Peaches Henry promotes healthy lifestyle as she becomes one of Jamaica’s innovative business leaders

Sasha-Gaye Edwards
Public Relations Officer- InnoPro Firm
Cellphone: 398-1717/ 523-2356

Mandeville, Mancheter (December 5, 2017). Peaches Henry the CEO and founder of Henry’s Delight, a chips company in Mandeville, Jamaica encourages health consciousness by manufacturing and distributing banana, dasheen, breadfruit and plantain chips with no preservatives or additives. She is all about providing healthy and nutritious snacks to consumers and, it is this drive that urges her organization to “become the leading manufacturer in the agro-processing industry, and supply products in the local and international markets.”She has experimented on the breadfruit and from her research, she discovered that the breadfruit yields nutritional benefits especially to the brain, and from this, she decided to produce breadfruit chips as a healthy and nutritious snack to assist students with brain development and learning.

As an entrepreneur, she engages and maintains a beneficial relationship with members of the community; she sponsored students of the Mayday High School in Mandeville to assist in completing their Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams. She has recently been on the Innovators and has also gotten the opportunity to market and showcase her brand on TVJ’s nightly program, “The Teller” as a Scotia Bank Vision Achiever. It is her company’s mission to, “ innovate in product development and supply high -quality food products through agro-processing, thereby owning profits for owners and accruing social benefits for stakeholders such as farmers and members of the community.”
Mrs. Henry is strong-willed and inclined to support members of the community, be a health advocate in promoting healthier and longer life for the overall success of her company.
If you’d like more information on this topic, schedule an interview with Mrs. Peaches Henry, contact Sasha-Gaye Edwards, researcher at InnoProfirm @ 398-1717 or visit the company’s Facebook page via the following link,

Plastic ban Impacts Mandeville businesses

MANDEVILLE, Manchester- As the plastic ban came into full effect this year, some businesses in Mandeville were not ready for the impact that it would bring as sales began to decline.

Cashier supervisor for a Super Plus branch in Mandeville Georgette Griffiths said that since the arrival of the ban customers began to complain about the durability of the alternative bags. She said that many don’t comply with the law and on numerous occasions would bring their own scandal bags.

She added that at times sales go down a little as many of the bags that the business purchase which come at a very expensive cost are not sold, and therefore slows up profitability. Griffiths explained that this is due mostly to the fact that most customers bring back their reusable bags.

“It is slowing up the market and slows up profitability. You will buy a certain amount of bags, and only a small amount gets sold, and then it causes reduction in sales. This is affecting business owners more because the bags are very expensive,” Griffiths said.

As for most businesses, the major issues are the hefty costs of the alternatives and the challenges of spending more for them and getting little profit.

One retail business said that its profits have declined significantly since the ban. And because of this the business had to buy less of the alternatives to keep down costs.

Another retail business said that customers will come to purchase goods and when they do realise that they have to pay for the bags then they shop elsewhere, or go other places that sell them cheaper.

And even though some businesses are at a standstill, they do admit that the ban will create opportunities for innovative business people to produce the alternatives at a cheaper price.

However, some mentioned that it may start out slow at first because there is not a high demand for reusable bags as most customers are now washing and reusing the bags. They noted that restaurants will demand a great number of the food containers.

Vice President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Robert Howard highlighted that most businesses in Mandeville will be impacted by the ban in that profits may come at a slower pace. He mentioned that the items that can be sourced to replace the banned items are turning out to be a little expensive, but he believes that once further research is done and more people take up the mantle to try to find better alternatives, then it can become really profitable.

“The opportunities are there; it’s just for them to grab it. We need people to go out there and look for the items that are comparable in price and quality because it’s out there. What we have to do first is to find what the alternatives are, can we manufacture them here, and is it cost- effective to manufacture it here? If not, then we import. The opportunities vary, but they are wide,” Howard said.

Manchester leads other Parishes in Crime reduction

MANDEVILLE, Manchester- Elsa Smith, Deputy Superintendent of Police, in charge of administration in the Manchester Division shared statistics that show reduction in crime for the period from January 1 to March 5, 2020.

Smith was at a Chamber meeting at the Golf View Hotel yesterday where she shared the report.

She said that Manchester is ahead of other parishes in terms of crime reduction, highlighting a clear up of 33 per cent of the reports for the period of January 1 to March 5, 2020. Last year has seen a clear up of 67 per cent reports. The parish also recorded a total of 54 serious crimes for the period compared to last year’s report of 83, resulting in a dramatic decline of 33 per cent.

The period also reflected a record of 8 murders similar to last year’s figure.

Smith pointed out that domestic violence accounted for the majority of murders committed.

“…of the 8 murders for 2020, 4 or 50 per cent are domestic-related, so you see if we get some amount of control as it relates to murders that we are getting out of domestic violence, we probably would not be looking at these figures.”

The corresponding period of 2019 has recorded 9 cases of shooting, while this period has only recorded 4 cases. This represents a 56 per cent decline.

Interestingly, the period only reported one case of rape so far compared to last year’s report of 6 cases, resulting in an 83 per cent decline. Smith added that even though 2019 did not end well in terms of rape, the police have worked assiduously in stemming crime in the parish, which has also helped with the reduction.

This period accounts for 11 reported cases of robberies in comparison to last year’s figure of 17, resulting in a 35 per cent reduction.

The parish also recorded 22 break-ins in comparison to last year’s figure of 33, indicating a reduction of 33 per cent. Additionally, Mandeville is dubbed the ‘headquarters’ for these incidents. However, Smith shared that the authorities do have control over the matter.

Break-ins occurred mainly in police areas of Mandeville, accounting for 59 per cent of reported cases.

There is a 33 per cent drop in the number of aggravated assault cases, accounting for 6 at present compared to 9 for the previous years.

Larceny shows a slight uptick of 1 reported case for this period compared to last year’s report of 2 cases.

“The division although presently experiencing a decrease in serious crimes has continued to analyse existing measures and have implemented new ones aimed at curtailing and reducing occurrences even further. Community patrols and increased investigative efforts have positively impacted the reduction of crime especially break-ins which historically accounted for the most of the division’s crimes annually,” Smith said.

Hanging the root to capital punishment

By: Sasha-Gay Edwards

Over the previous years, residents and government officials have called for the continuing of hanging as an approach to destroy the nation of crime which up to this date keeps on wreaking havoc on the Jamaican society. Jamaica is likewise positioned as one of the most murderous nations in the world. The New Year additionally began as a bloody one as the nation recorded 34 homicides during the initial 11 days, which mirrored a slight uptick from the 33 killings recorded for a similar period a year ago.

For some people, crime is an epidemic that keeps on contaminating those that are in danger. Greek philosopher Plato once said, “Crime is a disease and the incurable criminal should either be banished or put to death.” But is there actually a cure for crime? Could hanging be the cure? And even though capital punishment is still on the books, the authorities have not carried out any form of hanging since 1988. In any case, would this be the ideal time to continue hanging amid the growing concern for crime?

There are those who would agree with the famous Biblical principle of “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” or the law of retaliation which expresses that a person who has inflicted harm on another should be penalised to a similar degree, and the person inflicting such punishment should be the injured party. Also, a few people contend that executing someone because they’ve taken someone’s life is revenge and not justice and that any society which executes offenders is committing the same violence it condemns. Some may ask, if a society should eradicate crime by killing people as retribution, then isn’t that crime in itself or another immoral offence?

There has additionally been a continuous discussion on whether hanging would be a plausible crime solution if resumed. Some persons see hanging as barbarism and inhumane treatment that evokes traumatic images of slavery. And as an independent, self-governing nation that has broken the shackles of servitude and colonialism, some persons feel that hanging as a deterrent to crime will only bring back the discomforting recollections of slavery in a society that is no longer under British rule. Also, the imposing of death by hanging for murder is a legacy of British colonialism as slave holders would execute those slaves that escaped the plantations, and those who partook in rebellions and other crimes. The authorities also executed one of Jamaica’s National Heroes, Sam Sharpe, along with other slaves for leading the Christmas rebellion in 1831.

Interestingly, slave holders prohibited the practice of Obeah or witchcraft on the plantations, and executed slaves who partook in the act. Hanging was also introduced as a way of encouraging productivity among slaves on the plantations and for controlling the slave populace, and in those days slave holders had to depend for the most part on slave labour to drive the economy.

Some persons reason that in the event that hanging resumes, then it will not eliminate crimes, but only innocent people will suffer the consequences. They even contend that there are many innocent people behind bars who have never perpetrated a crime. Some would argue that Incarcerated dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel is an innocent man behind bars whom authorities arrested in 2014 for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. Nonetheless, some persons are of the view that hanging is an outdated form of punishment and feel that a lethal injection would be a better option as it is less painful, more modern than and not as torturous as hanging.

Attorney- at -Law Marcus Greenwood argued that hanging would not be an effective deterrent to crime as a few inadequacies exist within the Jamaican justice system that the government should address before taking that path.

“As far as I know there are only four persons on death row, which means the problem is not the sentence of capital punishment, but persons first have to be apprehended by the police and then convicted of the crime. The fact of the matter is that most persons who commit the offence of murder that warrants capital punishment, that is capital murder, are not being apprehended by the police. A lot of them are not caught, and they don’t fear committing the crime, because they know there is a reasonable chance they won’t be caught. Even when they are caught, the rate of conviction is not high because the police are hampered in their investigations to prove the case,” Greenwood said.

Also, the decision of the Privy Council in the landmark case of Pratt v Morgan established that capital punishment should be carried out within five years from the date that the sentence is handed down by the judge. Greenwood stated that based on the process of appeals in Jamaica, the courts cannot carry out the sentence within the five year stipulation. He additionally referenced that if the government resumes hanging, then they need to guarantee that the justice system have adequate resources such as modern equipment and more support personnel so that the appeal can take place within the five-year time frame.

“I am not sure that capital punishment is the way to go because there are persons who have been convicted; they might be wrongfully convicted, and it’s not just to do with the appeal process, but we need to rely more on forensic evidence like DNA, camera recordings and those sorts of things,” Greenwood said.

He also acknowledged that the government should not abolish hanging, but the judges should apply it sparingly, and therefore, he is confident that the judges know how to do that.

Probation officer Felicia Watson shared that this punishment will create fear in persons, by impacting their mental health. She explained that it will place enough psychological pressure on those willing to commit crimes, and once they are aware of the severity of the penalty, then they will desist from committing the act.

Sharing her thoughts on the issue, Final year Social work student at the Northern Caribbean University Shantel Farquharson highlighted that hanging would be a viable crime plan, but it may not be the best decision. She feels that some persons are falsely imprisoned, and believes this is somewhat due to the justice system not being as effective as it used to be. She also mentioned that people are spreading rumours, and falsely accusing others spontaneously.

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