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Peter Bunting fell short

Published:Friday | January 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM

We have not ascribed self-righteousness to Peter Bunting, the shadow minister for security. Yet, that is precisely how Mr Bunting sounds in his statement about the rise in crime for 2009, including homicides that were equivalent to the record number of 2005.

Crime is a serious problem in Jamaica, which the People's National Party (PNP), of which Mr. Bunting is general secretary, failed to contain during its 18 years in office. Clearly, the Government of the day has primary responsibility for coming to terms with the problem.

But as Mr Bunting well knows, crime in Jamaica is a complex matter that is contributed to by a political culture that finds accommodation with criminals and people who operate on the margins of formal society, as well as give birth to so-called garrison communities.

Political majorities

These 'garrisons', with their enforcers and voter-rustlers, help to guarantee the political majorities of the parties. Mr Bunting's party controls several.

He is aware that the dismantling of garrisons has been declared to be among the necessary requirement for a sustained reversal of crime in Jamaica.

We expect the shadow security minister to make this part of any analysis of crime trends in Jamaica, and to insist that the PNP dismantle its own zones of political exclusion.

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