Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Culture change needed to cripple crime - AG

Published:Friday | January 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Malahoo Forte

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, says Jamaica needs a culture change if the country is to ever make a significant step towards violent crime that last year claimed more than 1,600 lives.

In St James alone, more than 332 people were murdered and many of these killings took place in St James West Central, the constituency Malahoo Forte represents in Parliament.

With this reality, she is now ultimately calling for Jamaicans to realise that the mentality of "turning a blind eye" has not been serving the best interest of the country and needs to change.

"The citizens of this country need to be engaged in a new contract for them to understand their role because this thing about people turning a blind eye, it cannot continue," Malahoo Forte told The Gleaner during an event in the second city earlier this week.

"The country needs a culture change, and a culture change does not happen overnight. The Government must play its role, but even if you have the machinery of the government doing its part, the people must be prepared to do theirs," she added.

Strengthening the investigative capacity of the Jamaica Constabulary Force is a good start to tackling the complex problem, according to the MP. She said this would in turn lead to more evidence gathering and witnesses.

"... But it is really sad that we have a section of the population that places little to no value on life. Their way of settling a dispute is to take a life, and that remains the biggest challenge yet. I think a lot of these killings stem from families fighting families, and when something goes wrong there is reprisal on any other family member," Malahoo Forte said.

Going forward into the new year, the attorney general is appealing to Jamaicans to take a stand against criminal conduct by sending a strong message that wrongdoing will not be tolerated.