MThe Easter weekend past saw plenty in terms of news. At least 9 killings of varying gruesomeness made the headlines, something we have seemingly grown numb to as a population. Perhaps more on the news front though was the arrival of Jamaican dancehall and reggae sensation Buju Banton to our shores and the raid of his hotel room that preceded his jam-packed concert on Sunday. Banton took to social media to express his displeasure at being targeted by the ‘Babylon’, a statement of discontent with great validity given that nothing was found in the impromptu invasion of the singer’s hotel room.
What remains unclear is the circumstance under which the police were spurred to action. The public was told that intelligence received alluded to Banton harbouringdrugs… what quantity and for what purpose we do not know. As Top Cop Gary Griffith made clear, the policeintelligence or lack thereof was clearly flawed.
The reasoning behind Double G intervening could only be described as damage control. But the horse has bolted Mr. Griffith, and your attempts at appeasing the affected only made matters worse. Griffith’s decision to personally visit Buju and offer the olive branch sends the wrong signal to not just his forces, but to a population that has great expectations from the Commissioner. Is it that you’re implying your men were wrong to search based on flawed intelligence? Or was that even the catalyst for their actions in the first place? Can we expect you to now publicly apologize to every person or group that was searched to no avail?
To think the late night visit to Banton’s room would have muddied his mostly impeccable yet fragile public opinion enough, the story doesn’t end there. Double G took up an offer from Buju to appear on stage with the entertainer in a gesture of peace, unity and what not. What rubbish! How can the head of the police service go to such extensive measures to correct the misgivings of one man who was under the microscope mere hours earlier? We’re not saying that Buju was conducting anyillegal activities, what we are saying is that the police should be able to do their job with some confidence. They also have a responsibility to execute their duties with due respect to the population. A simple apology to Banton from the intruding officers would have been enough. Whether or not Gargamel was the target of unwarranted inspection is a topic for another day.
Mr Griffith, you hold one of the most scrutinized offices in this country. The local population is notoriously merciless. They will support you when you’re doing well, and ruthlessly mock you in the event of any mis-step. We urge you to keep steady, but please mind how your actions play off in the public domain. Be transparent, and be polite. Don’t let us down with theseunnecessary shows of folly.