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Former GG bemoans Hanover’s crime crisis

Published:Friday | September 11, 2015 | 10:29 AM

Former Governor General of Jamaica Sir Kenneth Hall has expressed grave concern over the current spiralling crime levels in Hanover, which up to a decade ago, was ranked as Jamaica's safest parish.

Sir Kenneth, who was born in Hanover, said he was appalled that the parish is now ranked as one of the most murderous parishes in Jamaica. He also expressed the view that the rise in crime is inextricably linked to the underdevelopment of the parish over the years.

"Jamaica is facing two great challenges: the first is to devise strategies to create economic growth after decades of underperformance; the second is to find effective and creative programmes to stem the crisis in crime,"said Sir Kenneth, who was speaking at a recent installation ceremony for 55 new justices of the peace (JPs) in Lucea, Hanover.

"These two challenges are part of the responsibilities that you have assumed as justices of the peace because in my view, Hanover has been a victim of both failure to develop rapidly, or in some cases, at all, and more recently, spiralling crime in this parish," added the former governor general.

"And as a Hanoverian, it gives me no pleasure hearing that Hanover is now in the top three in the list of recent murders. It is not something to be proud of. However, we in Hanover, and you in particular, will have the responsibility to address that," Sir Kenneth continued.

The former governor general urged the JPs to use every opportunity to sensitise residents to their role in the administration of justice, noting that their installation could be the catalyst to preventing crime.

"My concern is, in times like these, there is clearly a crisis. I can recall in Hanover when the first murder in my part of Hanover (Claremont) occurred, it was such a shock to the community that for months, that's all people spoke about - that someone had lost his temper and had killed someone. That was something that was unheard of. Today, if you go around Hanover, this is no longer big news," said Sir Kenneth, who is a Rusea's High School past student.

Sir Kenneth said the JPs should focus on specific crime-diversion activities, including "tackling parenting skills, education levels, employment, and other basic human needs so that conflict resolution messages can be received". He also suggested that they visit prisoners in

lock-ups and make reports on their observations.