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MoBay’s stakeholders mulling crime summit

Published:Thursday | June 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry

Western Bureau:

With the bid to tame St James’s ongoing lawlessness proving to be onerous, with more than 130 murders since the start of the year, several prominent stakeholders are proposing a crime summit to look at the situation with a view to finding a workable fix.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis said that it made no sense to stand idly by and watch as the city and parish plunged further into lawlessness.

“The St James Municipal Corporation would embrace a roundtable discussion with the critical stakeholders of the parish,” said Davis, who is also chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation. “... and it must be designed in a way in which we come up with workable solutions with all stakeholders and be prepared to support the initiatives we decided on.”

According to Davis, emphasis must be placed on police-community relations to effectively combat crime and violence in St James and the wider Jamaica. This, he said, is one of the critical areas that is falling short.

“Also, stakeholders coming together might assist somewhat because a lot of these communities need mediation. They need people to go in and start talking to the various residents and combatants alike,” noted Davis.

T’Shura Gibbs, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says that she would throw her full support behind a crime summit, noting that such an intervention might be needed at this time.

According to Gibbs, the chamber is open to participating in any effort aimed at addressing the crime situation in St James, noting that the business community has been feeling the impact of the crime wave sweeping the parish.

“We are, however, resolute in demanding a comprehensive crime plan that will speak to short-, medium-, and long-term solutions,” said Gibbs, who is also the director of the Jamaica Public Service Company ­ Region West.

Despite several new policing initiatives since the parish registered a record 268 murders last year, lawlessness continues to reign in the parish, with several murders each month ­ a grand total of 130 to date.