Engage all Jamaicans in crime fight - Phillips urges Holness
With the country’s murder total already above the 1,200 mark and more than 20 per cent over last year, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips is again warning Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his team that its growth plans could be torpedoed by crime.
In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Phillips declared that like the Government, the opposition wants to see the economy grow, but he argued that the failure of the Holness administration to embark on an engagement of the society is a major negative.
Reiterating a commitment he made during the recent PNP annual conference, Phillips said the opposition is prepared to meet with the government, trade unions, private sector, human rights groups, any other national stakeholders to mobilise the country to isolate the criminals.
But he charged that the government must be prepared to lead this coming together.
“There seems to be a certain unwillingness of the part of the Government to again engage the society as a whole in a dialogue about how to control crime, in a mobilisation effort to isolate criminals, in an engagement of the stake holders including the rank and file of the police who are themselves feeling quite despondent ... because they feel they are just out on their own,” said Phillips.
He argued that crime control is one key area where Jamaica has lost ground under the Holness administration.
“And this is having an effect on growth and quite frankly the hysteria surrounding crime is weakening the entire fibre of the society. The investors and every ordinary Jamaican are afraid ... and it is just debilitating to the whole society,” added Phillips.
National Security Minister Robert Montague last week announced that Holness is to make a national address on crime shortly and Government sources have indicated that the details of a proposed 'Secure Jamaica' initiative will announced at that time.
Holness has already indicated that the initiative will be aimed at tackling challenges associated with crime, violence and poverty.