18 Feb The Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller MP Leader of the Opposition | Urgent Action Needed to Fight Frightening Crime Wave
Urgent Action Needed to Fight Frightening Crime Wave
I am troubled by recent news and other reports that some young girls have been abducted and attempts have been made to abduct others. There has also been news of the gruesome murder of girls and women. This,added to the general upsurge in murders in recent months, has led to a state of panic across the island.
The country is anxious to hear from the government a coherent and comprehensive crime plan. So far all we have heard are empty promises and gimmickry.
Last week Senator Lambert Brown made several recommendations in the Senate and I believe those recommendations need to be considered seriously by the government. They include:
· Motivating the police by assisting with legal expenses for members of the security forces who face criminal charges arising from their work;
· Taking back communities from the domination of the criminals by building partnerships between the State, private sector, churches, civil society and the communities;
· Implementing the anti-gang law and setting targets for the dismantling of gangs;
· Establishing a registry of all gangs and their members;
· Fast-tracking cases involving gangs by dedicating court facilities with adequate resources, including judges, prosecutors and legal support for investigators;
· Establishing a Standing Committee of Parliament dedicated to crime reduction. This will focus the country’s attention on solutions and show that the anti-crime efforts are bipartisan;
· Focusing on increased conviction of guilty criminals through improved investigating techniques including the use of science and technology and;
· Re-establishing through the Partnership for Jamaica, the Justice and Crime Committee which existed before February last year.
This was designed to play a similar role as the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET) and now the Economic Growth Council. The Crime Committee was a formula that worked.
The crime wave we have seen over the last few months will have a devastating effect on economic growth and development if it is not checked. It is important that the government and the police tell the
nation urgently the measures being implemented to keep our country safe.
I want to remind the people of Jamaica that while we depend on the Government and the Police to protect us, we all have a responsibility to look after ourselves and to look out for each other. Be vigilant,
be careful of strangers in your communities and keep your children close to you.