Golding says gov't spending too much on JDF while neglecting JCF
Opposition Leader Mark Golding says that the Government has invested too much of its resources into the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and not enough in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), perpetuating the country's “terrible problem of violent crime”.
Golding, who was speaking on Tuesday at the People's National Party's (PNP) post-conference briefing at its headquarters in St Andrew, said the police are operating below crime-fighting capacity.
He argued that the number of police per capita in Jamaica is lower than in the rest of the region.
Golding said the Government has pursued a "failed strategy" with the fiscal space created through the success of the IMF programme.
“They have allocated too much of that fiscal space of the capital expenditure on the military, which has been increased both in terms of things like boats and ships but also the numbers in the military have been expanded,” he said.
The PNP president said that the same has not been done for the JCF.
“Yes, some police stations have been renovated and we support that fully but there are not sufficient police officers on the road,” he argued.
Golding said the essence of a crime plan cannot be to arm the police with more assault rifles or take away Jamaicans' rights.
He said for the country's crime problem to go into remission, the Government must work to transform the fortunes of youth at risk.
This, he said, will form a fundamental part of the solution.
“Not a piecemeal approach with a little programme here and a little programme there, the private sector getting involved over there and some NGOs (non-governmental organisations) over here. No, we need a national programme,” said the PNP leader.
He said that the National Youth Service needs to be revamped to become a programme of mentorship and remedial education for those who need it, along with vocational and skills training and job placements.
“We can reorient those young people towards being productive citizens who the rest of the society does not have to live in fear of but, rather, can embrace because they are helping to build our nation,” he said.
- Kimone Francis
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