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Jamaicans believe crime monster too big for Gov't

Published:Tuesday | October 13, 2015 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Jamaican policemen examine a crime scene along Spanish Town Road, Kingston.

Seven out of 10 eligible voters in Jamaica have suggested that the Government is out of its depth in fighting crime and violence.

At the same time, the Government's record at creating employment opportunities for Jamaicans remains poor, at least in the estimation of 67 per cent of voters who gave the administration a bad rating in the area of job creation. This represents four percentage points less than the 71 per cent of persons polled who echoed a similar view in September 2014.

A Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll said 70 per cent of the Jamaican electorate is of the view that the Government is doing a bad job at tackling the problem of crime.

The poor rating came little more than two weeks after the Police High Command released data showing a 20 per cent increase in murder for the period January to September 5, 2015, compared with the similar period in 2014.

Between January and September 5 this year, 826 persons were murdered in Jamaica, compared with 686 killed for the similar period last year.

Johnson polled 1,200 residents islandwide from September 25 to 27 with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent.

The number of persons who gave the Government the thumbs up this year for crime fighting declined by three percentage points when compared with the results of a similar Johnson poll in September 2014. According to the poll results, 13 per cent of respondents believe the administration was doing a good job at crime fighting.

Another 15 per cent of those interviewed said they neither had a good nor bad rating of the job the Government was doing in fighting crime and violence.

Turning to the Government's performance in job creation, 15 per cent of respondents said it was doing a good job, three percentage points more than those who expressed a similar view in a Johnson poll last year.




The Fiscal Policy Paper interim report for 2015-2016 tabled in Parliament recently stated that the unemployment rate fell marginally from 13.6 per cent in April 2014 to 13.2 per cent in April this year.

Johnson also tested the pulse of Jamaicans in relation to the job the Government is doing at fixing the nation's roads. Thirty-one per cent of respondents said the Government was doing a good job, a nine percent-age point increase when compared with a similar poll conducted by Johnson last year.

On the other hand, it appears fewer Jamaicans believe the Government is doing a bad job at fixing roads. In the latest Gleaner-Johnson survey, 49 per cent of eligible voters said the Government was doing a bad job when it comes to fixing roads. In September 2014, when Johnson asked members of the electorate to rate the job the Government is doing in fixing roads, 60 per cent of respondents said they were doing a bad job.

On an issue that touches many Jamaicans, particularly those living in urban centres, Johnson raised the question of water shortage in many parts of Jamaica and interviewed persons on whether the Government was to blame for the water shortage. Fifty-two per cent of those surveyed blamed the Government for the unavailability of water, while 44 per cent refused to blame the administration.

In recent times, the National Water Commission has eased water restrictions in some Corporate Area communities following heavy showers that improved the storage levels at the Hermitage Dam and the Mona Reservoir in St Andrew.