Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Joseph Matalon, says his group is worried about the upward trends in murder and shootings, many of which have been linked to the so-called lottery scam in St. James.
Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington has confirmed that in the last five years, some 600 persons have been killed as a result of the scam.
Both, Commissioner Ellington and Matalon, were addressing members of the business community at PSOJ and Columbus Business Solution President's Forum at the Ritz Carlton Rose Hall this morning.
Matalon said although there had been significant reductions in the statistics on major crimes such as murder in Jamaica, statistics in the western parish were worrying.
He argued that the lottery scam was not only tarnishing Jamaica's image, but was now threatening the fledging call centre industry which is being undermined by these perpetrators.
The call centre business "holds much promise for the creation of jobs and economic prosperity in the west, but because of the insidious nature of these activities, permeate the legitimate economies of parishes in this region of the island", he said.
He said, "At a time when we are struggling as a country to eke out growth in our economy, we can ill afford for this growth to be derailed by illegal activity that paints Jamaica, unfairly in my view, as a rogue state”.
He is calling for all business and civic communities to get involve and give the security forces all the support they need to be effective in their crime fighting efforts to get to the heart of the criminal underworld that threatens the country's very survival.
The PSOJ president argued that Jamaicans are paying a high price for crime, and this was reflected in the loss of lives, loss of investment, loss of jobs, the high cost of doing business, and more generally, in the lack of economic growth.