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Fitz Jackson, Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 6, 2017: The People’s National Party (PNP) is alarmed at the reported blatant breach of the rules governing the use of a firearm by former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate, Mr. Trevor Webb; and is calling on the police to immediately take over responsibility for the investigation of the incident from the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA).

Shadow Minister on National Security, Mr. Fitz Jackson has written to Police Commissioner George Quallo on this troubling development. 

In a statement today, the party said it viewed the issue with utmost seriousness based on the prevailing crime and murder environment in Jamaica. It said based on a report in the Gleaner newspaper of Saturday, November 4, 2017, coupled with the on-going investigation by the Major Organised and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) in the sale of firearm licenses to friends, cronies and the well-connected, the party has no confidence in the FLA’s administrative leadership to properly investigate and resolve this matter. 

The PNP considers this matter to be a breach of the Firearms Act, which demands a serious and deliberate set of actions to determine whether the former JLP candidate is in breach of any criminal law and should be sanctioned.  The FLA is not the appropriate body to investigate a possible breach of the criminal offence.

Based on a video that has appeared on social media and referenced in the Gleaner report, Mr. Webb engaged in the shooting of bottles set as targets in the hands and on the head of another man, in an open display of western-style bravado.  In the video, Webb and the other persons at the scene can be heard celebrating that all three bullets had gone “clean through the centre” of the bottles, including the one that was on the man’s head. 

Although the newspaper story reported Webb as claiming that the bullets were not real, the recorded expression of the group confirms that the bullets had the capacity to pierce flesh as they had proven that they could penetrate plastic bottles. This contradiction is even more reason for a police investigation to determine whether live rounds were used in the gimmickry.  It should be noted too that even if the bullets were not real, an offence could still have been committed.

This reckless and unlawful behaviour speaks not only to poor judgement, but also to an outright disregard for the law and regulations as well as established good governance and order. Webb, who is himself a former police officer, and one who sought election to the nation’s legislative body makes a mockery of Jamaica’s system of firearm regulation, which is now reeling from the recent scandal at the FLA. 

The PNP notes that the Firearm Licencing Authority (FLA) has been asked to handle this matter, but there is no indication that there is any criminal investigation so far. This begs the question, is Mr. Webb, based on his political association, above the law?

It also remains curious that the FLA, headed by another former JLP candidate, Mr. Shane Dalling, is handling this critical matter involving his political party colleague. Is an impartial outcome possible?  

This is yet another example of unacceptable governance issues being created by the Holness Administration’s penchant to place political operatives in sensitive positions.  The PNP said this matter had serious prosecutorial implications and it would be watching very carefully.


Fitz Jackson, Press Releases

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.