GO-JAMAICA CHAT ONLINE
JANUARY 22, 2003
CARIBBEAN MEDIA - LLOYD WILLIAMS
TRANSCRIPT OF LIVE SESSION
Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:12:15 PM)
Do you think having less paid Members of Parliament in Jamaica would
contribute in a positive way to the country's financial situation?
And would it in anyway affect the way service is delivered to the
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:12:15 PM)
No; I think parliamentarians should be well paid while they are
serving the people's welfare. They should not have to worry about
earning enough money legitimately to put food on their own table.
One of the things that lead to corruption in many cases is when
people are too poorly paid. This tends to makes them too susceptible
(Jan 22, 2003 6:13:40 PM)
Is the government doing enough to contain the drug threat the society
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:13:41 PM)
Yes within the resources that it has. Jamaica is a relatively poor
country and its performance at dealing with the drug problem is
commendable compare to a country like the USA that has all the resources
at its command and still has a serious drug problem.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:14:51 PM)
Will the government role back their pay? If not why?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:14:51 PM)
I don't think they will. Although in my view it would be a good
gesture for them to roll it back. Their arguments for not rolling
it back is that it is only a 16% increase and they are underpaid
as things are.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:17:21 PM)
How would you rate the latest anti-crime measures in Jamaica compared
to previous initiatives?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:17:22 PM)
It is too early to give it a meaningful rating because it is just
7 weeks old. What is different this time though and point hopeful
to its success is the fact that security forces teams will be in
for the long haul. While they are in each community they will be
seeking this time around to bond with the law-abiding citizens and
this augurs well for future police/citizens relationship.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:19:26 PM)
We have heard so much by the commissioner of police in Jamaica about
the big players in the drug trade. How is it that none of these
players have yet been arrested and exposed?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:19:26 PM)
The Mr. Biggs of the drug trade are always difficult to bring to
book and no less so in Jamaica. However, a few months ago the commissioner
gave the impression that all that was left for the Mr. Biggs to
be put before the court was the signing of arrest warrants. We too
are waiting with bated breath.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:20:13 PM)
What are the MPs getting paid for exactly are the drug dons not
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:20:14 PM)
This question is best directed to the MPs themselves.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:23:38 PM)
Am living abroad for 30 years, and would one day like to return
to Jamaica to live, but my foreign family and I are afraid to live
in Jamaica because of the violence and killings. What are the plans
for the new government to curtail this grave problem that seems
to be a part of the Jamaica's culture?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:23:38 PM)
The government on December 1, launched a new initiative to reduce
the level of crime. One of things that the Minister of National
Security said would be different this time is that the initiatives
will not be focus on inner city communities only, but will be extended
to all areas of the island. Since the new crime initiative is only
7 weeks old we will have to wait and see how it works out. In the
mean time we need more jobs and investments to get the economy growing
to the level where crime will be at the minimal.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:27:13 PM)
Mr. Williams I am a concerned person, I am a Trinidadian and I love
Jamaica but do you think that enough is being done to eradicate
drugs out of Jamaica?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:27:13 PM)
The Government has launched a new crime initiative and a major focus
of it is targeting the link between the drug trade and the sustain
criminality that the island is experiencing. We are getting much
needed assistance from the British, Americans and Columbian governments.
We trust that this will bring about the results that are required.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:28:35 PM)
I beg to differ on the poor pay and parliament. The Jamaican Governmental
parties are filled with nothing but greedy insensitive people. And
why are they allowing the Columbians and drugs to run so rampant
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:28:35 PM)
The Jamaican government will be the first to tell you that the main
target in its site are the international criminal gangs including
(Jan 22, 2003 6:29:54 PM)
Mr. Williams, what do you think is the number one solution to Jamaica's
problem at this time?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:29:54 PM)
Speedy and certain crime detection to put the criminal gangs out
(Jan 22, 2003 6:31:48 PM)
Jamaica has fallen in shame and the poorer people are the ones that
are suffering, our children are suffering, our brothers and sisters,
mothers and fathers are suffering because of the greed and corruption
in Jamaica, what exactly is the government doing to make things
better for the poor people in Jamaica? Too many lives are being
lost by desperate people willing to transport drugs to another country
for a few bucks.
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:31:48 PM)
The government says that its intention on providing jobs to ease
the unemployment situation but it will take time.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:33:24 PM)
So what will they (government) do about the increase in the US dollar?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:33:24 PM)
The Bank of Jamaica, the Central Bank, has intervened to keep the
Jamaican dollar from going much above the J$50 to US$1 level.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:37:15 PM)
You are placing Jamaica with power house countries like the US,
you should segregate Jamaica from these country and then answer
why you think that Jamaica's violence has escalated to such heights
compare to countries like ourselves?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:37:15 PM)
I think both the police, the government and other sources have agreed
that much of the violence being experience is sparked by the fact
that between 100 - 120 metric tonnes of cocaine pass through Jamaica
each year and it is this that has spawned the criminal gangs who
offer protection and safe heaven for the drugs and have free frequent
fights over turf and to ensure the smooth passage of the cocaine.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:40:09 PM)
I recently met a 23 year old Jamaican that is living aboard and
has no intention of return home although it is obvious that she
is pain of not being able to return due to the violence.
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:40:09 PM)
Not all the 2.6 million people who live in Jamaica face violence
in their day-to-day lives. Much of the violence is attributed to
domestic reasons and a similar proportion to reprisal/gang feuds.
It is no comfort that last year on the average 3 people were murder
each day, but by and large most of the murders or violence occurred
in certain inner city communities.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:42:42 PM)
My question is, what programs are being implemented to attract our
intellectual people that are in the US studying?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:42:42 PM)
From time to time high level teams from the government go to cities
in the United States and else where there are large Jamaican communities
and implore the nationals to return home to serve their country.
These pleas have borne fruit from time to time but eventually it
is the decision of the individual.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:44:21 PM)
Is 14 years not enough time to deal with unemployment, which they
have already used up since they are in power and what have they
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:44:21 PM)
The government's reply to this question is that it has been laying
the foundation for growth all this while and that the growth of
the economy is about to begin.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:47:39 PM)
No, Lloyd the Colombians is not the problem, and it is the political
leaders that have led the people a stray. If people here had options
then they would not swallow cocaine in order to feed their children.
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:47:39 PM)
A lot of people who offer themselves has cocaine couriers are driven
more by greed more than by needs. For example, airline stewardess,
police and other people employed in relatively well paying jobs
have been arrested here and overseas for smuggling drugs.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:50:31 PM)
Should Jamaica retaliates against Bermuda by imposing visa restrictions
on that country?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:50:31 PM)
There is precedence for this action because I have been informed
that some countries, which require visas only from countries, which
ask the nationals of other countries to, produce visas.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:52:56 PM)
We have know about the connection of crime and poverty for some
time. What are the factors in you opinion that will move things
in a positive direction? Is it the private sector?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:52:56 PM)
It is a situation in which everybody would have to chip in. The
government, the private sector, the intelligentsia, and people at
the grass routes. The problem is the leadership to motivate everybody
to realization that we all swim together or drown together.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:54:25 PM)
We all now Jamaica is a great country, is great for a holiday! 'It's
only a shame you must see so much security. It brings more dollars
to Jamaica when they are not there. Just a tourist from Holland!
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:54:25 PM)
The security as off-putting as it is meant to assure not only our
nationals but visitors like you and give you the peace of mind to
enable you to enjoy your holiday.
(Jan 22, 2003 6:57:26 PM)
A lot of our murders today are extremely viscous. Does this suggest
a growing relationship between the trade and our murder rate?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:57:26 PM)
Yes. Cocaine trade by its very nature is a murderous one. There
is no recourse to the law or to conflict resolution once trust is
broken the guns settles everything. Besides the gang members invariable
venture into other areas of criminality including kidnapping, extortion,
car jacking and arm robberies with fatal results for their victims.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:00:52 PM)
Most Jamaican politician lives in the hills and some have homes
overseas. In Barbados politicians are known to live among the people
they represent, they also make meager salaries. Isn't Barbados a
good example of where people put country before their pockets?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:00:52 PM)
It is acknowledged that the level economic development in Barbados
and their politician maturity are things that should be emulated
by Jamaica. One of the reasons some people ascribe to this disparity
is the higher level of education in Barbados compare to Jamaica.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:01:45 PM)
Do you think there is drug money being used in election campaigning
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:01:45 PM)
I would not be surprised if it is, but it is difficult to document
without the cooperation of the politicians.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:03:07 PM)
Lets not fool ourselves no sensible minded businessman will invest
until he is assured that his business will be safe from criminals
namely the so call dons etc., do you agree?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:03:07 PM)
Yes. It is this high level of criminality in which the dons figure
prominently which have led to this reluctance to invest in Jamaica.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:04:45 PM)
I see Jamaica as the next Haiti. How can we save the country from
going down this road?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:04:46 PM)
First, we need more jobs, we need more investments, we need to get
all our children in school and to ensure that they develop to their
full potentials. But most of all we need the leadership to ensure
that we achieve these things.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:07:24 PM)
Lloyd is the Jamaica press doing enough investigative reporting
to expose corruption in high places? If why?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:07:24 PM)
No. Investigative reporting is expensive and its time consuming
and it demands reporters with a certain level of skills. Of course,
there are a lot of stories to be done. I don't know of any editor
who is going to give a reporter two months off to work on a story.
Again one of the obstacle to investigative reporting we don't have
a freedom of information act that will provide us with timely relevant
information that politicians especially want to keep hidden.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:11:01 PM)
What needs to be done in reducing the flow of cocaine to Jamaica?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:11:01 PM)
We need to get go fast boats because that is the only way we can
chase the go fast boats that are bringing in and taking out cocaine
to Jamaica. We have a coastline that is 1022km and our Jamaica Defense
Force coast guard is stretched thin even to cover one small area.
Besides we need closer cooperation with our South American neighbours
and all the assistance we can get from the British and the Americans
which have the technology to counter the well equipped drug trafficker.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:12:37 PM)
When government give contracts to known dons e.g., the Apostolic
lane don down town and the Lords of West and East Kingston, are
they not sending wrong signals to Investors and the Youths about
Values and attitudes?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:12:37 PM)
The giving of contracts should be transparent otherwise these contracts
will only attract adverse rumours to the people to whom they are
(Jan 22, 2003 7:14:44 PM)
Lloyd what would you say about the people in high places that back
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:14:44 PM)
They are very much apart of the problem. Besides they are being
hypocritical more often than not publicly they come out in support
of transparency and honesty when they are as much mired in corruption
as are the dons and they politician masters.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:15:50 PM)
Are Journalist not afraid in Jamaica? How has the treat of violence
affect your work over the years?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:15:50 PM)
I have had my share of threats but if I were to let the threats
get to me I would not get out of bed in the mornings.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:18:52 PM)
Do People see two Jamaica when they talk about Crime and Violence?
Often Jamaica is seen as Kingston and other times Jamaica is seen
as the North Coast and the Kingston the Wild West?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:18:52 PM)
Yes part of the problem is facing that in fact there are two Jamaica.
The Jamaica of the inner cities and the Jamaica of the leafy suburbs.
Very little of the violence occurs in the tourist resorts. Most
of it occurs in the inner city but to the Jamaican overseas or nationals
from other countries Jamaica are one small place and they feel threatened
by this perception of violence.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:20:29 PM)
Lloyd I think we are seeing leaders that are more educated than
before. What is your take on that?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:20:30 PM)
Yes, but education is not a guarantee of selfless service or good
ideas or integrity or always giving priority to the public weal.
(Jan 22, 2003 7:23:19 PM)
How can the Caribbean region work together more effectively in dealing
with the drug trade?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:23:20 PM)
Already there is in Jamaica a Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement
Training Centre and it has been for the last 3 years since its establishment.
Training people throughout the Caribbean to tackle the problem of
drugs. As the training continues there will be a network of these
highly trained specialists throughout the Caribbean who will not
only act as a bulwark against drugs traffickers but themselves will
train people in their countries to tackle the problems.
Lloyd Williams (Jan 22, 2003 7:24:41 PM)
Thank you very much not have time to deal with this evening.