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Phillips again calls for immediate convening of stakeholders' meeting on crime

Published:Wednesday | April 17, 2019 | 11:52 AM
Opposition leader Dr Peter Phillips - File photo

Opposition leader Dr Peter Phillips says the long-promised anti-crime meeting of stakeholders must be immediately convened by the government to hammer out a national consensus against crime and violence.

“There is need for a national consensus about this issue which is without doubt one of the most serious problems that we face as a country. The private sector has already agreed, we the opposition have agreed and other groups have agreed,” Phillips told the Gordon House yesterday.

While supporting the extension of the Zones of Special Operations in St James, St Catherine, and Kingston, Phillips welcomed the promise that more Zones will be established.

He said the Opposition had been advocating for the increase and broadening of this crime-fighting mechanism to stem the scourge that continues to wreak havoc on communities in Clarendon, Westmoreland, Hanover, Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine and other parts of the island.

Phillips noted that a high level of crime has been a persistent feature with the murder rate having almost doubled every decade since Independence.

“While we deal with the ZOSO, the only long term solution is to take the criminals off the streets, and we know who they are, based on utterances by the government and the security forces after the end of the State of Emergency. If we need legislative enhancement to get this done, we should do it.”

Phillips also expressed deep sadness at the brutal murder of eight-year-old Shantae Skyers in Red Hills, St Andrew.

“Once again, this signals the levels of savagery that have overtaken so many areas of Jamaican life. The cases of domestic violence, the drive-by shootings in several communities, the killing of our children and this blood thirst need more than just a sprinkling of Zones of Special Operations or the scraping up of thousands of young men without charge unconstitutionally. It is time we seriously bring together the stakeholders and agree on a national approach that will be both far-reaching and sustainable,” Phillips said.

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