He said the floundering and fiddling in relation to the scheduling of previously agreed meetings to address the high levels of crime and violence send a clear signal that there is no serious plan or intention to deal with the scourge.
“The Opposition has been waiting for a new meeting date from the Office of the Prime Minister for over six weeks and despite our efforts, no new schedule has been offered.” The Opposition Leader said.
Arising from talks between the Opposition and the government at Vale Royal, it was decided that a meeting of stakeholders, involving the private sector, the church and other groups, should be held to include the views of civil society in any agreed measures to tackle crime.
“We had a good meeting, it was a frank exchange of views and we insisted that the discussions needed to be broadened. We came out of the meeting with a date set to meet with other stakeholders, this was cancelled by the government.
We were asked to put forward three alternative dates after that. We complied, but were told by the OPM that those dates were not workable because they needed time to prepare for the tabling of the budget. They are yet to get back to us with another date. This government is not interested in building a national consensus against crime.” Dr Phillips said.
He explained further that a decision was also taken for a meeting between the Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate and Shadow Minister of Justice Senator Donna Scott Mottley and the Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte, to explore new legislation or strengthen existing laws to enhance the crime fighting apparatus. Nothing has come of this.
“The continued talk and no action from the Prime Minister would suggest a lack of seriousness on the part of government in addressing the state of affairs relating to crime control. Therefore, they cannot ascribe blame to anyone, especially the Opposition for the new wave crime, including in Westmoreland.
As stated then and reiterated now, we stand ready and willing to work along with the government and all stakeholders in the interest of Jamaica and the safety of our people,” Dr Phillips said.
- Countries: Jamaica