Retributive justice must precede visions of reformation

Dear Editor,

I call upon the President, the Attorney General, and the opposition, believed honourable people to varying degrees, to up the ante to level the field against those who wage war on the populace.  They can do so through the passage of more deterring legislation and making available additional resources.  It has been a one-sided war with fear and terror the result, and the streets already either hostile territory or savage killing grounds.  Some facts might help.

First, take a particular maximum penalty on the books.  It is 4 years for 4 kilos (or 40) of the powdered product. On the lower end of the weight scale that amounts to US$80,000 or $16 million.  Though there is tighter scrutiny and more interceptions, it is still widely believed that more passes through the screens. The smart fellows know, that at best, 1 in 5 movements is detected and seized. And yet, the so-called captains of industry tell this dumb foreigner that there is little cash around, and business is bad.  Of course, this depends on the kind of business contemplated.  Four years (sometimes not spent) mean nothing, given the rewards of the trade.  That sentence means nothing when widgets, weed, wireless, weapons (and more) wend easy passage into the penitentiary.  Four years are a mockery of the punishment regime, when it is accepted that the lowly mules take the fall (lips sealed) for the Tundra tycoons.  I think 15 to life may make men think again about the heroism of protecting the big fish.  Now that gilbaka is banned, the local seas gets more crowded.  Remember: 4 kilos wreak much human bondage and misery; and $16 million sow considerable economic wickedness.

Second, smash through an object, ignore it, and then hurry away.  Inciden-tally, that was once a human being, a living, breathing person. In such circumstances, bail is not merely offensive, but profane.  The equivalent of US$500 (or US$1000) in bail granted has to represent an abomination.  Surely, that cannot be the price of a life, or the claw of the law…  I think that a prize heifer fetches more on the hoof.  And when booze, high octane, and higher testosterone are introduced, they form a lethal brew.  Add scorn for the law and ask the grieving families, usually poor, and that kind of bail is meaningless.  I urge raising the bar.

Third, rip off boss and business place, gouge a visa hopeful, pauperize a prospective homeowner, or swindle a car buyer, and those doing the fleecing double over in delight.  Here is why: steal millions and obtain freedom for thousands. Any seasoned horse and dice man would relish those odds.  Crime pays and handsomely.  In this country, there is constant caterwauling about the nexus of crime and politics, and business and crime.  Ignored is the relationship between puny deterrents and the withered arm of the law. It is small wonder that there are so many repeat offenders. The disparity between the financially muscled physique of crime (be it white collared, red blooded, or blue eyed) and the state’s slap-on-the-wrist response to it is so vast as to make matters laughable. Victims are not finding any mirth in their plight.  They are expecting developments from chambers.

I say respectfully to President Granger (and General Williams) : do something.  Do something different; something harsher that would make perpetrators straighten up and ponder.  I think that they think.  In the uneven battle against crime, I go so far as to advocate following some of the steps implemented by that fine gentleman from the Philippines.  In many respects, I associate with some of the elements of Mosaic Law, Islamic Law, and mediaeval English Common Law. Desperate hours demand draconian responses. Retributive justice must precede visions of reformation and the renaissance of rogues and the recalcitrant. Raise the bar and crack the whip.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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