Ja bordering on chaos - Jackson
Thirty-eight people have been murdered in Jamaica since the start of the year, according to the official police count. It has prompted a renewed call for action from stakeholders, including the parliamentary Opposition, People's National Party (PNP), while piling fresh pressure on the Minister of National Security Robert Montague, as well as Police Commissioner George Quallo.
"You see the numbers; it's a very bad start to the year and I say this against the background that the country has heard nothing from the prime minister or Mr Montague," said Fitz Jackson, opposition spokesman on national security.
Jackson told The Gleaner that the Government remained nonchalant about tackling crime through tangible planning, even as the situation worsens.
He said that the recent crime figures clearly point to a breaking point, adding that "Jamaica is bordering on chaos" and that as the population grieves, the Government plays mute.
"It is clear that the prime minister and the security minister are both complicit in remaining mute on the issue in recent times, while the country grieves," stated Jackson.
Last year, the police recorded 1,616 murders, the highest since 2009, when Jamaica recorded 1,680 killings.
He said in addition that the protracted wage dispute between the Jamaica Constabulary Force members and the Government does not help the situation.
"This is a very serious matter; one that has only served to further demoralise the already demoralised members of the force," Jackson noted.
"Therefore, the Opposition is calling on the Government to take real action in dealing with the wage issue in a beneficial manner to the police, as well as to treat post haste the concerns that the people of this country have to deal with in terms of the crime situation," Jackson said.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor, head of the Community Safety and Security arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, agrees that the current crime wave is untenable.
"It is bad and we are presently working on a strategy. From my end as the community and safety officer, we are implementing safe communities in the 19 geographic areas because we want to get close to where the situations are arising that causing these murders," McGregor said.