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Response to addressing Jamaica's crime rate

Published:Saturday | January 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Statistics released by the Police High Command on Friday have revealed that of the 14 parishes, St James has the unenviable reputation of recording the highest murder rate for 2009. A total of 240 persons were killed in that parish - home to the tourist resort of Montego Bay - between January 1 and December 31, 2009. We asked four prominent residents to comment on what should be done to arrest the frightening murder rate.

Roman Catholic Bishop of Montego Bay, Charles Dufour:

We need stronger commitment to family life. A child needs a mother and a father, and if you don't have that critical component in the family, all hell breaks loose. Where there is strong family life and mentoring by the Church, problems occur less.

Myrtle Dwyer, director of sales and marketing at Half Moon Resort:

I want back the old Montego Bay where people can go wherever they want and at whatever time they choose without being fearful that anything may happen to them. We need a change of heart and we need to get back to the basics and appreciate the small things in life. We need to take back our youth, start building homes, which evolves into communities.

Fred Smith, managing director of Exclusive Holidays:

There needs to be a greater sense of community involvement and trust on the part of the citizenry. Until there is a trust and confidence factor where people feel comfortable with the police, it will be difficult to contain crime. We need to conduct more public forums and awareness to get people to develop their trust in our police force.

Mark Kerr-Jarrett, managing director of Barnett Limited:

Create employment opportunities, renew the inner-city communities by putting infrastructure, such as electricity, sewage and roads, to make them accessible by the security forces. There also needs to be a reformation of the justice system so that it can serve as a deterrent to crime.