Sun | Feb 19, 2017

Gov't pumps more resources to cramp crime

Published:Wednesday | January 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell

Members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee will today comb through the First Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure which contains an additional $6.8 billion for public debt servicing and an extra $5.9 billion for the Ministry of National Security, even as the Jamaican Government pumps more resources into fighting the stubborn crime wave that has been battering the country.

Last year, the country recorded about 1,300 murders, with St James alone accounting for some 250.

With a revised $592.7 billion in the Supplementary Estimates that was tabled yesterday by Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw in Gordon House, the Government plans to spend $12.8 billion more than the $579.9 billion approved in May 2016 by Parliament for the 2016-2017 financial year.

At the same time, the capital budget for the education, youth and information ministry has been cut.

The capacity of the security forces to fight crime on the high seas will be boosted as the Government plans to spend an additional $2.3 billion to purchase and carry out overhaul of ships. The original allocation in the Estimates of Expenditure was $350 million.

The administration had first earmarked $100 million for the purchasing and overhauling of aircraft, but this has been significantly increased to $700 million for the balance of the fiscal year.

REHAB FUNDS DOUBLED

There has been a doubling of allocation for the rehabilitation and reintegration of local offenders and deported persons. An additional $3.2 million has been budgeted increasing the total sum to $6.3 million. In 2016, a little more than 200 Jamaicans were deported from The Bahamas.

The Supplementary Estimates also revealed that the Government has spent a little more than $71 million on the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry into the operation of the security forces in west Kingston in 2010. Approximately $96.1 million was earmarked for spending for the financial year, but the Supplementary Estimates indicated that there has been a revised requirement following settlement of outstanding commitments.

Meanwhile, the Government is spending nearly $143 million more to cover divestment related costs associated with Caymanas Track Limited, which pushes the total sum to $292.9 million.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com