Holness weak on curbing crime wave
THE EDITOR, Sir:
As Jamaica's crime rate continues to skyrocket and the character of these murders get more heinous and terroristic, with children, the elderly, and women being targets, I am extremely concerned that the most our prime minister, Andrew Holness, can offer to reassure citizens is that the Government is "fairly advanced" in developing a strategic anti-crime action plan.
This was the same Andrew Holness who trumpeted that when his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) became the government, Jamaicans could begin to sleep with "your doors open". Unfortunately, the reverse has happened as murders are rapidly increasing and many communities take on the character of ghost towns after dark as people hurry home to lock up and batten down as if threatened by an ever-present hurricane.
In Opposition, Holness regularly tweeted murder updates and lambasted the former national security minister, Peter Bunting, despite the game-changing anti-crime initiatives Bunting introduced and his significant inroads in addressing social factors that drive crime through initiatives such as Unite For Change, a partnership that focused on uniting communities and involved citizens and the Church, among other groups.
Holness now belatedly accepts that there is no switch to turn off crime. Well, hello, Columbus! The average number of murders per year for the four-year period from 2008 to 2011 under the JLP was 1,470, as compared to an average of 1,127 (or 342 fewer murders per year) for the four-year period from 2012 to 2015 when Bunting was security minister.
In fact, the average year of the past PNP government had a lower number of murders than the best year of the previous JLP government.
But while Emperor Andrew fiddles, Jamaica burns. In St James alone, there is a frequency of 144 murders per 100,000 of the population this year to date.
Crime, including murder, has also mushroomed in Clarendon, Westmoreland, and St Catherine this year, and reports indicate a rising tide of crimes like housebreaking, which had been moving steadily downwards in recent years.
More than ever, Jamaica needs a collaboration of all the stakeholders to fight crime. We need to adopt the best practices successfully introduced by Bunting such as increasing the use of technology, intelligence and the mobility of the force.
What Jamaica needs now is results, not dithering and lame excuses.