Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Criminals running scared - PM says anti-crime plan is working very well

Published:Thursday | August 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressing the Government's quarterly press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is guaranteeing that there is an active national security strategy at work that has led to an overall reduction in crime. However, he pointed out that to make the details public was a sure way to ensure failure.

Responding to questions at the Government's quarterly press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday, Holness sought to dispel the "false notion" that the Government's anti-crime plan is hinged solely on the ongoing state of public emergency and zones of special operations. He argued that there has been a systematic approach to dealing with crime.

"There is wider policy thinking going on, about which I have to be absolutely careful what I signal because as I've said before, don't believe that the criminals we're dealing with are some little fellows on a street corner," he said.

"Who we are really looking out for are those people who scan our media; seek to influence politicians; seek to bribe our public officials; seek to get access to our ports; carry in contraband; move large volumes of illegal goods, drugs, and guns, and create large armies to protect that. So what we are doing, we will never let them know."

Holness, who has been under increased pressure from the Parliamentary Opposition, the private sector, and the general public to concretise and outline the nation's anti-crime strategy, pointed out that under this national security tactic, several major gangs have been dismantled via the court system.

 

MURDER DECLINED BY 16.8 PER CENT

 

"There is a plan, and it is working quite well. Any Jamaican who believes that what is happening is just by virtue of coincidence would be grossly mistaken or would have fallen prey to the very devious propaganda being spread by some agents who look on the success with bad mind," said the prime minister.

He noted that the murder rate had declined by 16.8 per cent between January 1 and August 11 when compared to the same period last year.

Acknowledging that the public needed to be assured that the Government was taking decisive steps to arrest the crime monster, Holness argued that his administration had thrice tabled in Parliament documents outlining the anti-crime plan's general direction.

"At one Budget Debate, I tabled a general outline of plans to secure Jamaica, which was not just focused on the ministry of national security or crime, but it was focused on securing our telecommunications because that facilitates crime. It was focused on strengthening our ports because that facilitates crime. It was focused on strengthening our border protection," the prime minister said.

He further hinted that the acquisition of two new maritime offshore vessels for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard, as well as strengthening JDF's air support were part of the Government's crime-reduction strategy.

"I can't go into all the details to tell you what it is that we're doing, but we've given the general outline, and I think that the public should now reject this political argument because that's all it is. That's the only thing they have to latch on to. If we were to come out and give details, that is to ensure that our plan doesn't work," he reasoned.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com