Tue | May 23, 2017

PM omits details of plan to tackle crime; outlines achievements instead

Published:Sunday | September 20, 2015 | 9:51 PM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, president of the People's National Party, is flanked by her predecessor P.J. Patterson (left) and her finance minister, Dr Peter Phillips at the 77th annual conference of the party held at the national arena in Kingston today.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller this afternoon offered no details on plans by her administration to arrest the country's escalating crime rate, except for a stern warning to perpetrators of crimes against children.

Many pundits had anticipated that crime, and in particular murders, would have taken a central focus in the party president's presentation at the PNP's 77th Annual Conference, given that murders have increased by about 20 per cent to in excess of 800 so far this year.

But addressing supporters this afternoon, Simpson Miller outlined her administration’s commitment to dealing with the issue, but did not say what else her government would do to tackle the problem. She reiterated that several laws had been passed to support crime fighting and that several court houses across the island are to be refurbished.

However, she was passionate about her Government's position on crimes against children. She reminded her supporters that stricter laws would be enacted for persons found guilty of rape and carnal abuse and also parents who neglect their children.

And the prime minister used this afternoon's public session of the party conference to also remind the nation of her administration's achievements and outlined several initiatives to be implemented.

She said J$5.5 billion is to be spent on social programmes this year, with J$600 million more going to pensioners. She stressed that is 40 per cent more than the allocation for last year to pensioners.

Students on the PATH programme are also to receive tertiary grants and transportation allowances of J$172 million.

Simpson Miller said J$2.5 billion will be spent to improve healthcare infrastructure and investment was being sought to establish a new state of the art children's hospital. She added that the accident and emergency units of the Linstead Hospital in St Catherine and Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas are also to be refurbished; while the health sector is to receive 18 additional ambulances.