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Government Flops. Gets low ratings for job creation, crime fighting and road maintenance

Published:Tuesday | October 14, 2014 | 10:00 AM

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

There is more bad news for the ruling People's National Party as it continues to take a whipping from the Jamaican public with high percentages of bad and very bad ratings for its effort at job creation, crime fighting, and road maintenance.

The most recent Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson polls, with a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent, conducted early and mid-September, found that 71 per cent of the 1,208 persons interviewed gave the Government ratings of bad or very bad for its efforts at job creation.

Respondents were asked to rate the Government's performance in creating jobs from six options: very good, good, bad, very bad, neither good nor bad, or don't know.

Forty-seven per cent said the Government was very bad at creating jobs, while 24 per cent said it was bad.

According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, the total unemployed labour force up to January 2014 stood at 175,000.

Dr André Haughton, lecturer in economics at the University of the West Indies, writing in The Gleaner in August 2013, said the figures were cause for concern, especially youth unemployment.

In April 2013, youth unemployment was at an all-time high of 39 per cent, up from 34.1 per cent in April of the previous year.

The news was no better for the country's crime-fighting effort, despite more personnel in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the reassignment of commanders, and the passage of crime-fighting laws such as anti-lottery legislation.

Respondents were asked to rate the job the Government is doing in fighting crime and violence from the following choices: very good, good, bad, very bad, neither good nor bad, or don't know.

Forty-two per cent said the effort was very bad and 25 per cent said it was bad. Another 14 per cent said it was neither good nor bad. However, 15 per cent said it was good, and one per cent said it was very good. Three per cent did not know.

Most divisional commanders of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are reporting reduced numbers in all categories of crime, but murders continue to haunt communities and tarnish peace efforts in several areas.

The murders of four men on Sunday in Bog Walk, St Catherine, and a new wave of violence in sections of August Town, St Andrew, are adding more numbers to the murder figures.

The country changed police commissioners during the time the poll was being conducted, with Dr Carl Williams, the former deputy commissioner in charge of crime, replacing Owen Ellington as the top cop.

Ellington announced his resignation in June.

There would be no let-up for the Government on its effort to fix roads in Jamaica.

When asked to rate the job the Government is doing in fixing the roads in Jamaica, with responses being very good, good, bad, very bad, or neither good nor bad, 60 per cent said it was bad or very bad, while 20 per cent said it was good. Two per cent said very good and four per cent did not know.

Communities across the island have vented their anger over the hazard of poor roads by blocking already barely passable roadways to register their disgust.

While bad roads appear to be an islandwide concern, major roadways, such as the toll roads, have been opened to provide access to many thoroughfares.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com