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Letter of the day: Government, Opposition must unite to fight crime

Published:Sunday | July 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM


It is rather sad and disappointing that as a society the Jamaican state is not united on any national issue. Successive governments all have failed the people miserably in providing adequate security and protection for its citizens.

Regardless of the political party one supports, the effect and impact of crime is the same on all of us. Crime has a crippling effect on the psyche of a people and nation. In fact, crime and violence, if not brought under control quickly, will contribute greatly to the demise of this nation. Our economic success is intricately hinged on us having a manageable level of crime and violence.

Recently, we were shocked out of our wits upon hearing that there were seven murders in St James over a 24-hour period. On average, the Jamaican state has over 1, 000 murders yearly. For the period 2009 to 2014, more than 7,000 Jamaicans were murdered. This is unacceptable and a consensus involving both the Government and the Opposition is required. A wider consultative approach is also needed involving civil society to include the Church, trade unions, dancehall and reggae artistes, etc.

Women, children and men are being murdered in the killing frenzy now stalking the land. Health centres have had to be closed due to ongoing violence in some areas. Economic, social and religious activities are being severely impacted and people are afraid, very afraid.

It appears that there is an association between male underachievement and crime. Too many of our boys continue to fall through the cracks of the education system. With no skills, or no or few subjects, many of our young men are drawn into a life of crime. It cannot be a coincidence that most victims and perpetrators of crime and violence are males, given that Jamaica's population is roughly balanced between male and female.

Regardless of the root cause for Jamaica's frightening murder rate one thing is certain: much more needs to be done to curb and decrease the runaway murder rate. The current measures in place are not a deterrent to stop these murders. We are a divided nation and the prospects for us are not encouraging if we continue along the same path.

Wayne Campbell