Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Letter of the Day | JamaicaEye needs legislation

Published:Wednesday | June 19, 2019 | 12:42 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Gleaner’s editorial of June 14, 2019, titled ‘What is JamaicaEye seeing’, has painted a dismal forecast of the Government’s initiative to have CCTV cameras in public spaces under the JamaicaEye Project.

Your position, of course, is informed by the empirical data which demonstrates that, inter alia, a significant number of the CCTV cameras are inoperable due to the lack of maintenance.

Whilst observing that this project is symbolic of other grand initiatives by the State, which crumble because of deficient implementation, you have failed to recognise that there are economic constraints insofar as the Government is concerned.

Additionally, your view and conclusion run the risk of perpetuating the misguided view that it is the Government’s and only the Government’s duty to deal with our crime problem effectively. The reality is that crime within our various communities across Jamaica continues to flourish because we as citizens turn a blind eye to those who we know are responsible for killing, robbing and raping our fellow Jamaicans. Crime-solving initiatives are the business of us all, even criminal defence attorneys.

The JamaicaEye Project is predicated on the belief that with the installation of CCTV cameras in public spaces, those who are inclined to commit criminal offences will be deterred, and those who commit such offences will be caught based on the capturing of their images.

BECOMING BLIND

The difficulty, however, is that the project is dependent upon the voluntary and community spirit of citizens to install CCTV cameras, and the dependence upon Government to have their own CCTV cameras in public spaces.

We are too at ease in the posture of hearing no evil, speaking no evil and seeing no evil.

Therefore, what is required is for there to be legislation mandating every citizen who operates a business of a certain volume in a public space, to install CCTV cameras.

Other countries, such as the Philippines, India and England, have gone in this direction, with much success.

Like many other policy initiatives by Government, moral suasion to be our ‘brother’s keeper’ for the greater good of society oftentimes do not work. Strict laws, in terms of compliance, is what is required. In the absence of this, the JamaicaEye Project, which is a good initiative, may well be on its way to becoming blind.

PETER CHAMPAGNIE, JP

Attorney-at-Law

peter.champagnie @gmail.com