Fri | May 26, 2017

US envoy: Protecting women is smart economics

Published:Monday | September 21, 2015 | 9:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I am writing to clarify last Friday's front-page story titled 'US investor warning - Jamaica to lose millions in investment if crime not curtailed, says ambassador'.

Barbara Ellington's reportage was spot on but the headline could be misread. Ambassador Moreno was not issuing a warning about potential lost investment because of crime; rather, he was calling attention to the actual economic losses suffered by Jamaica because of the epidemic of violence against women.

As he said on Thursday in his call to all of us to face this issue and address it directly, "Some people may see this as a human-rights issue, some as a justice issue, and others as a public-health issue. It is all of those as well as an economic issue. The direct costs to the health system run in the millions of dollars, but it is the indirect costs in lost productivity in the aftermath of a physical or sexual assault that undercut economic growth.

So while the human suffering caused by violence against women presents us with a stark moral challenge, addressing this violence is simply smart economics. That is why the US Embassy remains committed to our security and law-enforcement partnership with the people and Government of Jamaica.

We are investing millions of dollars in further strengthening the professionalism and capacity of the security services, and in bolstering police-community relations. We look forward in the coming months to engaging in a broad national conversation on how our two countries can work together to counter the scourge of violence against women.

JOSHUA POLACHECK

Counsellor for Public

Affairs

US Embassy, Kingston,

Jamaica