PM warns tougher anti-crime measures coming, begs for understanding and tolerance
Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is adamant that something more has to be done to curtail crime now threatening the proper functioning of the country and he is warning that tougher measures are coming.
"We have reached the point where we are now prepared to take those firm and resolute measures to ensure that the crime monster does not destabilise the promising future that is in store for Jamaica," the Prime Minister said.
He was speaking in Mandeville Wednesday at the launch of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Fontana Pharmacy.
"Over the past months I have been observing public discourse closely on this matter. It is an emerging view that now is the time the Government should take firm and resolute measures within the context of the law, the preservation of human rights and the dignity of life," Holness said.
He cited to the situation in Montego Bay, St James, for example, saying the people there have been experiencing distress at the hands of criminals and noted that a greater level of understanding will be needed as the new anti-crime programme is rolled out.
"This will take great understanding and tolerance from the people because the fight against crime is not just the police or the Government, it takes everyone to reach the point of understanding that the Government must act in a resolute fashion," Holness said.
St James has been of particular concern recording 332 murders last year -- 67 more than reported in 2016.
According to the Prime Minister, criminals represent one per cent of the population with the remaining 99 per cent being decent law-abiding citizens.
"We must put in place the laws and the measures to deal with them once and for all," Holness said.
The Prime Minister also said a special programme targeting the nation’s young men must be implemented.
"What is happening in our society; instead of the formal system creating opportunities for our young men, to articulate, to mobilise, to work in gangs are pulling them in and giving them the opportunity to create disorder and that is something we have to look at in a serious way," the Prime Minister said.
When The Gleaner sought details on the new crime intervention, the Prime Minister declined to comment.
However, press secretary Naomi Francis said more information will be revealed in a matter of days.
On Monday, the Prime Minister met with the National Security Council to discuss the issue of crime and the Government's response.
The issue was also discussed at the Cabinet Retreat last week.