Phillips says Opposition ready to partner with gov't on crime
In his first address as president of the People's National Party (PNP), Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips today, affirmed the Opposition's preparedness to work with the Government and various groups to arrive at a solution to the country's crime problem.
His message was placed within the context of the dramatic increase in murders, which are 25 per cent above murders last year during the same period. In excess of 1,000 murders have been committed in Jamaica since the start of the year.
He says the Opposition is not opposed to any measure to effectively fight crime and supports the Zones of Special Operation, although there are amendments that need to made to the recently implemented law.
Dr Phillips used his platform this afternoon to reiterate measures, which he says can bring some immediate relief to the crime situation and accused the government of not having a crime plan.
He says the government can immediately begin to reduce crime by reinstating the $2 billion the Opposition claims has been cut from the National Security budget. He says the funds could be used to purchase intelligence equipment for the police and vehicles.
In addition, he says the government must seek to settle wage negotiations with the police fast in an effort to motivate personnel.
Dr Phillips also once again called for the replenishment of the Legal Defence Fund for police who face legal action after being involved in confrontations with criminals.
He also wants the government to debate and speedily implement legislation to make the Major Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Agency (MOCA) independent.
The Opposition leader and PNP president also demanded that the government mobilise the court system to fast track cases that deal with violent crimes.
He says the government should also look at extending court hours, if necessary.