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Strategic anti-crime action plan fairly advanced - PM

Published:Friday | September 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Andrew Holness

With the country continued to be rocked by serious crimes including murder, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is fairly advanced in developing a strategic anti-crime action plan.

Speaking at the Jamaica-US Bilateral Relations Forum, held at the regional headquarters of the University of the West Indies on Wednesday, Holness said the plan involves an integrated and comprehensive set of measures and actions to significantly reduce crime in the country.

The forum focused on a report from the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) titled 'Dialogues between Democracies: The Future of US-Jamaica Bilateral Relations'.

The prime minister said the Government was prepared to spend significant sums to tackle the issue.

"In the next budget, you will see an allocation which will be significant but necessary in ensuring that Jamaica, once and for all, brings the crime monster to heel," he emphasised.

Holness said the country will be seeking help from its bilateral partners, such as the United States, to ensure that the plan is successful.

"The message is that Jamaica will help itself first. We are going to dedicate the resources to bring crime under control," he said.

The Government established a National Security Council (NSC), chaired by the prime minister, which is leading the development of the crime action plan.

The NSC, in light of the urgency of the matter, has been meeting monthly and has embarked on a comprehensive approach with a view to achieving significant and sustainable reductions in crime.

Meanwhile, Holness said Jamaica has to align its foreign policy with its economic interest.

"We will maintain our principled approach to foreign policy, but there are some interests that Jamaica has to look on in a strategic way and I want to send that message to our partners," he said.

The prime minister said Jamaica will have to sit down with the US administration to look at specific trade issues, such as quotas and market access.

The report from CaPRI focused on areas such as enhancing security; emboldening democratic governance; increasing trade and investment; enabling health and prosperity; endorsing full and equal citizenship; and strengthening the partnership.