Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Sector groups and Government mull crime problem

Published:Saturday | January 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The leading sector groups in the country have engaged the Andrew Holness-led administration with a view to lending support in the fight against the burgeoning crime problem in Jamaica.

At least two heads of private sector bodies in Jamaica told The Gleaner yesterday that discussions are currently under way with the Government on the issue of security. However, they could not provide details, indicating that an announcement would be made on the issue next week.

President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Howard Mitchell indicated yesterday that dialogue was taking place between the Government and sector groups to develop a response to the serious crime problem that has been plaguing the country.

Metry Seaga, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA), has also raised concerns about the current crime problem facing the country but told The Gleaner that his organisation was also participating in the discussions with the Government to come up with a workable solution.


Zones of special operations


In 2017, Jamaica's murder rate screamed past the 1,600 mark despite efforts by the Government to crack down on so-called violence producers. The Government introduced the zones of special operations in Mount Salem, St James, and Denham Town in Kingston as the security forces sought to clamp down on the spiralling murder count.

St James registered a record 335 murders last year, significantly outstripping the other 18 police divisions across the country.

On the question of the current stalemate between the Government and public sector workers over wage-related issues, Mitchell called on the negotiating parties to seek consensus through increased dialogue.

Noting that the private sector could not dictate how the Government should go about its negotiations with the public sector, Mitchell indicated that the PSOJ was ready and willing to provide any support in terms of reaching a compromise on the vexed wage talks.