Mon | Oct 22, 2018

'Time to get serious about crime fix for Kgn'

Published:Monday | June 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke

Crime and violence run the risk of crippling efforts to reposition Kingston as a tourist destination, according to businessman Chris Jarrett, head of the Kingston chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

"We have been saying this for years - that there needs to be a more concerted focus on Kingston in general and New Kingston, in particular, because that is where you find the concentration of hotel rooms in the capital," Jarrett said.

A noted hotelier, Jarrett told The Gleaner that the current approach in dealing with the country's well-documented crime situation will always be a stain on either of the two major political parties that forms the Government.

He said that the public is expecting more from political leaders, whose job it is to legislate on their behalf.




And while surveillance cameras have been installed in some sections of the capital city, they remain the exception and not the norm, according to Jarrett. This, he said, has to change.

"We have been hearing for a long time about several initiatives that the Government has been hoping to put in place, one of which is the surveillance cameras, and I don't know for what reason that we cannot get that in place and in the right locations," Jarrett said.

"I think that as a country, we have been lucky so far. Really dodging the bullet here, so to speak, by the fact that there is a lot of buoyancy about the country and Kingston in terms of tourism right now, this largely in part to the Usain Bolt effect and the fact that Kingston was recently voted as a top-five destination in the world to visit," stated Jarrett.

The Government, he said, must be a lot more vigilant and should stop talking about plans if it has no intentions of carrying out such plans. He urged the authorities to seriously implement strategies aimed at stifling criminality in Jamaica.

"I am afraid that if we do not do something quickly, the bubble might just burst. We need to start looking at how we are managing crime in Kingston, and yes, in the country on a whole, or we run the risk of sliding to a point of no return, and that would be totally devastating," Jarrett said.