Fighting the wrong battles

Senator Anthony Vieira  -
Senator Anthony Vieira -

JADA FELICIAN was 15 years old. There was so much that she was yet to do. She was a fourth-form secondary school student. She liked NASA and wished for the stars.

None of it mattered to those responsible for her death.

Ms Felician and her cousin were killed in Belmont early Saturday morning in what has been described as an ambush. Police responded to a report of gunshots and Ms Felician’s burnt body was recovered from inside a vehicle that had been set alight. There were dozens of spent shells at the scene.

“There’s nothing we can do again to keep ourselves safe because even when you’re inside and keeping to yourself innocent people are still dying,” said the child’s grieving mother.

Another relative joined in the chorus of those calling for justice but added, with despair, there was little hope of that.

How many of our politicians know Jada Felician’s name? How many of our legislators and democratically-elected representatives?

It is unfortunate that at a moment when citizens are literally dying – Ms Felician’s case is sadly not the only such incident in recent weeks – there is very little to suggest officials have been driven to do anything to address the most pressing problems affecting citizens: crime, the economy, the suppression of human rights.

Instead, our legislature seems concerned primarily with staging overly partisan “debates,” often on matters far removed from the ordinary circumstances of the population. It is ironic that the motion debated in the Senate on Tuesday was tabled by an independent senator.

Anthony Vieira is entitled to bring any motion he wishes. In fact, we desire more private motions.

But such motions should bring attention to the matters that the population needs addressed and should come alongside more urgent questions filed on behalf of citizens; more pertinent legislation addressing the failures of the criminal justice system and law enforcement authorities; more private bills proposing solutions to the matters the State seems unable or unwilling to address.

Mortuaries are reportedly literally overflowing with dead bodies. What are the priorities of our leaders?

Time and time again, we are told crime is being addressed, that fighting it is a long-term process. We are regaled with reminders of the separation of powers: the police are responsible for fighting crime, the Government for policy, and never the twain shall meet.

But the pandemic has given us the most flagrant example of the need for the State to be involved in oversight.

Legislators have dispensed with a state of emergency prematurely without any convincing reason. Meanwhile, the argument for such an emergency has never been stronger.

The emergency might not return, but for Ms Felician’s sake, the will to address crime as a society must.


"Fighting the wrong battles"

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