KINGSTON – A session organised to motivate members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) yesterday received crime-fighting instructions from two of the most unlikely individuals that one would expect to see addressing cops — dancehall deejays Bounty Killer and Ninjaman.
But Bounty Killer, whose given name is Rodney Pryce, and Ninjaman, real name Desmond Ballentine, who have both had run-ins with the law, received loud and sustained applause from police packed inside Conference Room 2 for what was termed a ‘Blast off’ at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
Pryce declared that fighting crime is everybody’s business and not just the business of those with direct responsibility.
“The mother and the parent of crime is poverty. And until the Government starts to battle poverty the right way we are always going to be locking up criminals,” he said. “Taking criminals off the street is a good thing, but there are things in society that lead and motivate [others] to go on the street as well, and we have to defuse those.”
The artiste noted that he was speaking from the vantage point of a once-troubled teen who decided to change the ominous path down which he was headed at the age of 16, a path he said many never escape.
He said additional Government programmes for youth, coupled with the efforts of the community, would prove to be a venin for crime and the beginning of a better Jamaica.
“Let’s start making the village raise the child again. Last year was a gruesome year with killings. The police, the soldiers, the security forces, they are playing their part; we as society have to play our part as well,” Pryce said.
“We are very selfish. A man would rather buy two bottles of Champagne and two bottles of Hennessy, than to take a youth off the road, or a homeless person, and give him a good meal. People rather to floss more than help and care, and that’s where we’re discouraging our future.
“The production of the country is going down; the future is blurry. The kids dem, they are not into religious talks anymore. We need to make the little youths dem go to church, Sunday School for the golden rule.
“When I was little I had to go to church. Jamaica is a God-fearing country, but most people act like dem don’t fear God anymore. We have to make it better,” Pryce said to thunderous applause from the country’s crime fighters.
Ballentine, in his address, chided the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) for putting what he described as unwarranted pressure on police seeking to uphold the law.
“I’m coming from a bad man point of view. No bad man nuh inna Jamaica again; unuh have a set of criminals and murderers dealing with. Some people just tek up gun and turn it on anyone they feel, and if the police catch one of dem and deal wid dem, INDECOM charge dem for it,” the artiste, who served three-and-a-half years behind bars, said before turning on the Government.
He called for more resources for JCF members, whom he described as the country’s “slaves”, arguing that they are not adequately paid for the work they do.
“The first step in getting rid of crime is to make your police more independent. Unuh need fi set up something where the police become more independent . . . . If mi nuh have nuh Benz, mi nuh live nuh weh, and mi can par with a man weh make mi can hype, mi a go live my life, because mi naah get up every day with gun pon my hip a run down thief and mi naah get pay,” he said as the cops in attendance egged him on.
He also urged the Government to seek the assistance of his colleagues in the dancehall fraternity to get involved in their respective communities.
“Government need fi make artiste take up dem responsibility, because in the 80s and 90s when deejays and singers used to inna dem community more yuh never have so much crime and violence. No man is an island; no man stands alone…” he said.