Fri | Jan 28, 2022

Kenny Benjamin | We must fix our crime problem

Published:Monday | May 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM
These youngsters try to get a glimpse of the crime scene at Crystal Towers apartment complex opposite the Commisioners office where the body of a woman was discovered on Saturday December 10, 2016.
Police at a crime scene in Irwin, St James.
Police detective on a crime scene along Spanish Town Road in Kingston.
Police on a crime scene in Glendevon, St James.
In this file photo, the police are processing a crime scene in St Mary.

The following is an excerpt of the speech delivered last week by the head of the Guardsman Group Kenny Benjamin at a crime forum in Kingston hosted by the Group.

It's my honour to welcome you to Guardsman's second forum - private-public partnership - state security in conjunction with private security to deliver more seamless, intelligent and powerful security solutions.

It's a big title for a relatively simple concept... that the severity and urgency of the issue of crime and violence in this country should not be tackled in silos. That the most effective and efficient solutions will be found when the private and public sectors work together to identify synergies and best practices. That dialogue between both sectors is the best way forward.

As the leader of the largest security company in the island... my team and I are in a unique position and play a critical role in diminishing crime in Jamaica. But to get where we want to go, it can't just be the security sector. All thinking corporations that do business in Jamaica have a vested interest and a moral obligation to get involved.

And to be quite frank, these issues are not unique to Jamaica. Guardsman operates in seven other countries in the region, and we are all working to figure out the right balance. This business is about trust and we've earned that trust by adhering to professional standards, respecting confidentiality and conducting ourselves with integrity in everything we do. Because that foundation has been established, we are now situated to work alongside state security to attack this hydra-headed problem.

Please join me in congratulating Major General Antony Anderson on his appointment as the new national security adviser o the prime minister, a man I know personally... a man of integrity. It's a great move for him and he's the perfect choice for the country.

Also special congratulations to the new commissioner of police, commissioner George Quallo. We stand ready to support him in his new role.

I want to quickly mention a troubling world bank study from 2012 that found Jamaican minors get involved with violent crimes from as early as 10 years old. And that boys age 10 - 15 accounted for two per cent of all violent crime arrests.

At Guardsman we are cognisant that our youth are at risk... Anyone driving down the road can see it for themselves... With Jamaica's vulnerable youth in mind, we are developing a partnership with the JDF and the hope zoo to start a programme that focuses on our at risk boys. I will be announcing the details within the next month.

We want to focus on both the low hanging fruit, the things that we can do right now with little mobilisation, as well as long-term strategies.

Let us not fall into complacency or nay saying, of thinking that solutions can't be found. If there is one message that will repeatedly come forth it is that mutual buy-in on this issue is absolutely critical.

Ultimately, we are all connected. We love Jamaica. We want Jamaica to continue to develop. We want to preserve human life. We want everyone to take control and of course we want to empower good. We can do it, and indeed, for the benefit of this and future generations - we must do it.