Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Give God credit for crime reduction, Bunting told

Published:Saturday | January 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM
National Security Minister Peter Bunting - File

When National Security Minister Peter Bunting appealed for divine intervention to arrest the flight of the runaway crime rate in Jamaica, he may not have foreseen that he would have been celebrating at the end of the year.

However, now that the crime rate is trending down and Buntings prayer appears to be answered, he is being brought to book over his pronouncement that elicited several reactions early in 2014.

The charge for Bunting to come clean has come from Fabian Lewis, a writer to The Gleaner who says he is a minister of religion. Lewis has characterised Bunting, as self-serving for having allowed his petition for divine intervention to slip his mind.

Lewis suggested that although Buntings head was obviously swelling, evident in the patting of himself and Government on the back and cooing like a crow, he has no reason to celebrate.

"If we are to go by one of his utterances earlier in the year when he begged God for his help calling for divine intervention God should be given all the credit for the present reduction," argued Lewis. "It's understandable, however, that he wouldnt want to give God any credit ..."

Not time for celebration

Lewis suggested that notwithstanding Buntings gush, more than one thousand persons were killed in 2014.

"He is claiming how good the government policy towards crime is and how well it is doing. While it is great that we are having fewer people being killed, it cannot be a time for celebration and patting of backs," said Lewis.

Notwithstanding what he described as Buntings self-serving pronouncements, Lewis argued that a lot of credible and valid reasons have been advanced as to why the crime rate is down.

Lewis conceded that law enforcement personnel have stepped up their game in intelligence gathering but, while they must be applauded, the police are still not up to scratch as yet.

He said the police must be given credit as they have tried their best with raids being conducted resulting in the seizure of guns and ammunition.

The minister of religion suggested that the lottery scam also contributed significantly to the murder rate in previous years.

However, he argued that since the concerted push of the Anti-Lottery Scam Task Force, primarily at the insistence of the United States of America, associated murders have decreased in large measure.

"From all indications, the strategy is set to bear more fruit in the coming year as the police have indicated they will go after the scammers even more in 2015", said Lewis.

For Lewis, the exportation of criminality to immediate Caribbean neighbours has contributed significantly to the decline in murders.

"It's no coincidence that while our crime rate is trending down, its going up in other Caribbean islands", he argued.

"A lot of our hardened criminals have left the island and are utilising the idea of globalisation, and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy to move across to set-up shop in these islands and to carry out their murderous acts.

"They have left Jamaica for a variety of reasons, but one overriding reason is paramount in my mind and that is the shrinking economic base of the criminal economy. While the security forces strangle the lottery scamming industry, the cocaine industry and other illicit but profitable drug industries, the real economy itself hasnt grown to allow for criminals to target more big shots to ransack their business places are extort money from them."