Mrs Frankson spoke well until...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017    

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On our list of most admired Jamaican women, Mrs Doreen Frankson, the former president of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), takes pride of place. Her contribution to the development of Jamaica, including the provision of jobs, is not inconsiderable. If she has a view about any issue affecting her and other Jamaicans she has more than earned the right to speak her mind.

And speak her mind she did in our Sunday edition in which she bemoaned the crime situation, calling attention to recent attacks on women generally, and on businesswomen in particular, by former employees. As Jamaicans seem pretty good at doing, she articulated the problem with all the genius that made her the successful businesswoman of Edgechem fame that she is.

But here’s where we part company.

In this space, we have consistently advocated the removal of crime, among other issues — like education and health — from the political football field. We believe that crime is no respecter of persons and, like the rain, affects all Jamaicans of whatever persuasion — political or religious.

Mrs Frankson was doing well until she appeared to blame the crime situation on the present Government, saying that she feels there is no crime plan.

“I cannot help but feel that the Government has no crime plan. No plan to deal with the kidnapping of our young girls. No plan to deal with protecting law-abiding business people. No plan to deal with protecting women who wish to use the streets to keep fit. No plan to deal with women who make decisions to cull bad apples from their businesses,” she says.

“I feel that Government will not take this seriously until we lead a revolt! Until we march and boycott the regime that has been elected to protect us, until we adopt a militancy that allows us to be heard, we can take no more!” Mrs Frankson declares.

Two things: First, Mrs Frankson completely ignores plans announced by the prime minister only last month during the budget debate to establish Zones of Special Operations as part of the Government’s plan to secure Jamaica. Legislation has been brought to the Houses of Parliament for the special measures to take effect.

The centrepiece of these measures is termed ‘Clear, Hold, Build’ under which the security forces will overwhelm the criminals in an area, maintain a presence after, and begin social reconstruction of the community to keep it reasonably crime-free.

We don’t know if the plan will work, but we desperately want it to. If Mrs Frankson has another plan she should present it. But to say there is no plan arouses suspicions about her motive.

Second, to appear to blame one government is pointless. There is enough blame to go around for the crime problem we face. It is no false equivalency to say that both of the major political parties have their fair share of responsibility for fostering and maintaining goons and enforcers who have morphed into gangs like the One Order and the Klansman in the latest manifestations.

Moreover, the blame game is passé. Pointing fingers does nothing for anyone at this stage. Crime summons all our efforts and energy to make this country safe for all — women, men and children.

Mrs Frankson’s call for the prime minister to meet with women to discuss the problem is akin to one by Mrs Betty-Ann Blaine for him to meet about children. Such meetings can be helpful. But everyone must approach it in a sense of mea culpa.





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