Tue | Jan 23, 2018

'Abusive policing not in my character' - Holness declares tough, knee-jerk approach to crime not on cards

Published:Friday | February 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Crime and corruption are to get special attention from the Andrew Holness-led administration as it moves into its second year as government, however, the prime minister is advising Jamaicans not to expect any tough, knee-jerk actions.

During an interview to mark the first anniversary of the Jamaica Labour Party's victory in the 2016 general elections, Holness said that Jamaica's fall on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index was one of its major concerns, while the crime monster remains a troubling issue.

According to Holness, criticism of his recently announced measures to address crime was based on a false premise that he was scheduled to announce a 'crime plan' and a disconnect about what crime-fighting represents.

"What the public understands to be crime-fighting, or what the public expects, is not the reality of what the Government can implement. People want to see tough measures on crime, and by tough measures, they expect hangings and states of emergency, but if you step back from the emotional response, you will see we have tried those before, and they have not worked," Holness told The Gleaner.

"The option of going out and tearing down people's homes, shooting before being certain, or using abusive force is not available to us, and for me as a person, that is not in my character, and, therefore, as leader of this country, that will never happen under my watch."




The prime minister stated that his administration intends to take a more balanced and nuanced approach, which he expects to be more effective in fighting crime.

"There are other elements to come which have to do with the powers that the police will have; the powers that already exist, which we will be bringing policy direction towards; and the provision of resources," explained Holness.

Turning to the problem of corruption, he said that the Cabinet is determined to improve the country's ranking on the Corruption Perception Index, "which means that some of the actions that need to be taken, we will have to confront those people who would seek to resist, but will have to move ahead. So the financing of political parties in terms of the registration, campaign financing ... putting in place the Anti-Corruption Commission ... are under way, and we are moving ahead".