JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, is imploring Jamaicans to be responsible citizens and rise above the ‘informer fi dead’ culture, in support of the fight against crime.
  • Ms. Llewellyn said the police alone cannot solve every case without getting the assistance of members of the public who must be courageous enough to come forward and not be intimidated by criminal elements.
  • The DPP pointed out that despite technological advances, increased equipment and the move by the Government to overhaul certain Acts, there are some situations that require the co-operation of an eye witness or witnesses to bring criminals to justice.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, is imploring Jamaicans to be responsible citizens and rise above the ‘informer fi dead’ culture, in support of the fight against crime.

Ms. Llewellyn said the police alone cannot solve every case without getting the assistance of members of the public who must be courageous enough to come forward and not be intimidated by criminal elements.

She was addressing a Criminal Justice Seminar at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, on September 17.

In the fight to bring criminals to justice, the DPP lamented that law enforcement and prosecuting authorities have to be grappling with the “dysfunctional moral compass within the public psyche,” where many persons have become indifferent to rising crime, upholding the belief that, “if it is not happening to me, then it doesn’t really matter.”

Quoting lyrics from a dancehall song advocating the ‘informer fi dead’ culture, Ms. Llewellyn noted this ‘spoken culture’ seeps into the consciousness of potential witnesses who may come from a particular stratum of society.

“In fact, it is all pervasive and it helps to feed this apathy and indiscipline and sometimes fear to disengage from the system.  Sometimes, you would be amazed, in terms of the levels of advocacy that we as prosecutors have to use to encourage, to convince people to come forward to give the evidence,” she said.

The DPP pointed out that despite technological advances, increased equipment and the move by the Government to overhaul certain Acts, there are some situations that require the co-operation of an eye witness or witnesses to bring criminals to justice.

She noted for example, that this indifference to crime is often manifested in domestic violence cases in which death has occurred, where based on investigations, community members tend to be aware of the discord, yet are unwilling to get involved, “and expect the police authorities to use telepathy.”

Ms. Llewellyn said this apathy has also spilled over in the courts where persons who have been summoned for jury duty do not wish to co-operate as responsible citizens and play their part in bringing criminals to justice.

She pointed out that when the Circuit Court opened in St. Catherine on September 16, only 27 persons were registered as having been present for jury duty. She noted that of the 390 jury summons that were sent out, only 40 were returned as having been served.

“The court was opened with 169 matters, all to be tried by the jury on their list, including 24 murders, and 111 sexual offence matters. In the latter category, 59 of these matters are with complainants who are children,” she said.

She noted that 17 jurors turning up for a 169-case circuit was grossly inadequate, explaining that to even empanel a jury for a murder case, there has to be at least 35 persons from which to draw.