Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Drop the politics, Mr Jackson

Published:Thursday | November 16, 2017 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In response to a letter by the opposition spokesman on national security, Fitz Jackson, entitled 'Stubborn Holness Hinders Successful Crime Fight'; it is a matter of the pot calling the kettle black. This, from a man who knows his administration was never able to successfully fight crime.

I encourage the opposition spokesman not to use Jamaica's dire crime situation for political mileage, but to become a part of the collaborative efforts to curb the crime wave. His claims of the government's refusal to accept a national approach should be rubbished. Just earlier this year national security minister, Robert Montague, made a monumental move in Jamaican politics by inviting then opposition spokesman on security, Peter Bunting, to sit on the Security Programme Oversight Committee. This invitation, to the best of my knowledge, has not been accepted. Even more so, the Ministry of National Security is set to roll out the five-pillar crime strategy, which, among other things, will mobilise social groups, churches and NGOs to help tackle the root causes of crime. Still, in knowing this, the opposition spokesman says there is no plan.

Clearly, Mr. Jackson is misled. Statistically, incidents of robbery are down 17 per cent over the same period last year. The same is true for rape, larceny and break ins down 16.5 per cent, 23.5 per cent and 10.4 per cent, respectively. There has been an increase of 40 per cent in the number of guns seized by the security forces. To discredit these efforts for personal gain is pathetic.

 

A minister for the police

 

While the police and other civil servants are engaged in wage talks with the government, Mr. Jackson's mention of this is in an effort to mislead the public. Earlier this year the Minister of National Security asked that qualified and deserving cops be promoted to fill vacancies in the force. He has been actively seeking to plug the attrition rate and improve morale. Under Mr. Montague's administration, we have seen some of the largest cohorts leaving the National Police College of Jamaica. Just recently, Batch 115, consisting of 135 cops, left the academy.

Don't play politics with issues of national security. Any attempt to downplay the steps taken by the current administration is deceitful and a low down shame. What we do need are constructive additions to the plans set out and a collaborative commitment to push for their success.

Drop the politics, Mr. Jackson! Pick up patriotism.

Claude McPherson