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JAMAICA | Opposition PNP proposes crime fighting strategy

Featured Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips is flanked by Opposition spokesman on national security Peter Bunting (left) and People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Julian Robinson as he makes a point at a press conference at the PNP headquarters in St Andrew yesterday. Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips is flanked by Opposition spokesman on national security Peter Bunting (left) and People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Julian Robinson as he makes a point at a press conference at the PNP headquarters in St Andrew yesterday.
KINGSTON, August 30, 2017 - The Peoples National Party has made several proposals aimed at reducing the balooning crime rate that has overtaken the country.
Declaring that no Jamaican is safe, Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips on Tuesday outlined a list of recommendations he is asking the Government to consider, in its fight to address the country’s spiralling crime rate.  
  
At the top of the list is the restoration of the $2 billion that was cut from the 2017/18 budget in the area of security, where funds are needed to bolster the security force’s anti-crime efforts.
   
He also urged the Government to accelerate its wage talks with the police force, pointing out that morale is low among officers and this has led to a high rate of attrition. He cited Clarendon, where according to him, "there are only a little bit in excess of a hundred police personnel on active duty that can be called upon" despite the pressure being placed on them by criminals. "It is clearly an inadequate ratio to deal with the problems which we face," he concluded. 
 
Dr. Phillips has also suggested that the Government immediately convene a national stakeholder group involving the private sector, churches and civil society to help develop a comprehensive crime plan.  
   
He added that legislation to establish MOCA as an independent body should be quickly passed in Parliament. The legislation, though, would be pushed by the Opposition with one proposed change. 

A total of 1,005 people have been killed up to August 26 of this year. This, the Opposition said, is 197 murders more when compared to the same period last year, and is shaping up to surpass the 1,005 people murdered in 2014.

Shootings as at August 26 stood at 894, 156 more incidents than the number for the same period last year. This represents an increase of 21 per cent. Police fatal shooting, the Opposition said, has increased by 50 per cent.

“…The police cannot act without critical resources. We are deeply concerned as a party at the Government's failure to produce a response or a credible plan of action which will enable the country as a whole to rally around the security forces and around some general and comprehensive effort to stem this type of criminality and violence,” Phillips told journalists at the press conference.

At the same time, the Opposition leader outlined a slew of recommendations, which he said should help with reducing the crime rate.

He called on the Government to, among other things, “restore” approximately $2 billion cut from the 2017/2018 security budget; speed up wage negotiations with the police; convene a national stakeholder group to define a national consensus around crime-fighting efforts; pass legislation to establish the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency as an independent body when Parliament reconvenes; put in place social intervention programmes mooted with adequate funding; and convene dedicated courts to facilitate the clearing of the backlog of criminal cases.

"We are going to propose an amendment, especially in light of the FLA experience, that would ensure that the oversight board is made up of persons who are not participants in the political process, nor have been in the recent past participants in the political process, and are clearly persons of high reputation and integrity," the Opposition Leader declared.

  • Countries: Jamaica