KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 5, 2017: The People’s National Party’s (PNP) Shadow Minister on National Security, Mr. Fitz Jackson welcomes the call from businessman John Mahfoodand the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce for private sector support of a national crime fighting strategy.
This call, Mr. Jackson says, is in keeping with the PNP’s longstanding position that there needs to be a national approach to crime fighting where all stakeholders, including the Parliamentary Opposition, the private sector and civil society sit with government to hammer out a workable long-term solution.
The Shadow Minister said the current piecemeal approach to the issue of crime by National Security Minister Robert Montague and Prime Minister Andrew Holness is not working; and while Jamaicans are being murdered daily, the approach is not showing any encouraging result.He said that the country is further puzzled and confused about where even the leadership of the portfolio lies.
Since the start of the year, more than 1300 persons have been killed across several parishes.
“The Minister has been holding consultations on bits and pieces of effort, but these cannot fill the need for a comprehensive strategy.
“This approach does not add up to the kind of broad based collaboration which is required. If all Minister Montague is looking for is a rubber stamp of the small ideas, then he is looking in the wrong direction,” Mr. Jackson said. “We are not interested in the piecemeal approach.”
Since the implementation of the first Zone of Special Operations in Mount Salem, more than 78 persons have been murdered in St James. This continued spiraling increase in murders immediately around the Zone of Special Operations, and throughout Jamaica is proof, not opinion, that much more is urgently required.
The Prime Minister recently acknowledged in Parliament that crime had reached an epidemic level, a point the Opposition has been making over the past months. This therefore requires mature, firm, resolute leadership towards developing a strategic medium to long term plan, the Shadow Minister said.
“This matter is no longer business as usual, a sustainable and comprehensive crime fighting approach is necessary, ” he emphasised.
While a second ZOSO has been declared in Denham Town, in the Western Kingston area, there has been no slowing in the skyrocketing murder rate.
“I have said in the past, we stand ready to work with the government and all stakeholders, not to rubber stamp piecemeal ideas, but to develop far-reaching strategies. All the Minister needs to do is set the date, the time and the place and we will make ourselves available because crime is a scourge on our society and we will do what is necessary to address this issue,” Mr. Jackson reaffirmed.