Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Ring the alarm! - Close to 100 persons killed since start of 2017 - Montague is wrong choice for security ministry - Bunting

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall
Peter Bunting

Opposition spokesman on National Security Peter Bunting has accused the Andrew Holness administration of a lack of focus on crime, evidenced, he said, by the country's murder rate heading in a scary direction in just under a month into the new year.

"Since the start of this year, by the official police statistics, murders are up over 50 per cent and shootings are up over 80 per cent," said Bunting, as he compared the first 22 days of 2017 with the corresponding period last year.

An unofficial tally compiled by The Gleaner shows close to 100 persons being murdered islandwide since January 1, while the official number from the police at January 21 was 87 or 51.9 per cent above last year.

According to Bunting, this could mean that the 1,350 total murders recorded last year was the start of a dangerous trend that the Government needs to urgently address.

"We have not started the year well and I think the concern that many of us have is that 2016 was not an aberration but signalling a trend to a higher rate of murders," said Bunting.




He argued that the man selected by Holness to drive the security portfolio, Robert Montague, might not be the right person for the job.

The former security minister charged that Montague spends too much time making media sound bites rather than focusing on his portfolio.

"In an environment of scarce resources, a big part of the requirement of a policy leader is to stay focused and to always be spending time and using influence in areas where it will have the highest impact," argued Bunting.

"Frankly, in my opinion, he seems misplaced. I don't think his skill set is best suited for that position. I think he has a lot of talent as a politician, but there are horses for courses, and I don't think his skill set is best suited for the Ministry of National Security."