In a statement, the PNP said Dr Chang’s statement was contemptuous, reckless and inimical to the process of by-partisan talks, which both parties started a few weeks ago at Vale Royal. The PNP said the statement by Dr Chang is another indication of the government’s failure to arrest the murderous state of affairs in Western Jamaica, and elsewhere in the country.
Dr Chang and the JLP government are well aware of the Party’s position which is firmly rooted in principle and the Jamaican Constitution, as outlined by our team of lawyers at the Vale Royal Talks. His statement, therefore, is a red herring which is aimed at distracting the nation from the core issue of the government’s policy failure on crime, the opposition said.
Shadow Minister of National Security and the PNP’s Chairman Fitz Jackson, M.P., said Dr Chang was seeking to scapegoat the PNP for the obvious failure of the government to bring a credible solution to the crime situation in the country.
He said the PNP and civil society have been asking the government for a crime plan and to date, the government’s response has been the promulgation of the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) and the declaration of states of emergencies in selected areas.
The statistic shows that even while those measures were in effect, crimes and gruesome murders were still taking place. Since the start of the year, for example, 183 Jamaicans have been killed violently in various communities across the country. In Montego Bay and other areas where the special operations zones and/or states of emergency were enforced, more than 16 persons were killed, and other crimes continued unabated.
Dr Chang needs to use his time to convince Prime Minister Andrew Holness to schedule the long-awaited meeting with civil society stakeholders as agreed at the Vale Royal Talks.
“We eagerly await the resumption of those talks, to which the Office of the Prime Minister is yet to schedule so that the nation can come to a consensus on a set of crime fighting principles to break the continuous cycle of crimes affecting our citizens in every socio-economic stratum,” Mr Jackson said.
The People’s National Party will never accept blame for the upsurge in crime for defending the principle that fighting crime cannot be on the sole basis of the arbitrary detention of hundreds of our citizens without due process. As a democratic party rooted in the principle of justice for all, we would not now or in the future, support the trampling of the basic human rights of the Jamaican people. It is not in our DNA.
“We, therefore, urge Dr. Chang to desist from politicizing the crime situation and seek by-partisanship to tackle the situation in the interest of nation building,” Mr Jackson said.
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