Addressing party supporters at the JLP annual conference at the National Stadium this afternoon, the National Security minister said tighter gun legislation is part of the government's strategy to clamp down on crime.
“When I bring that bill to Parliament, we are going to say that if you are charged with a gun crime - no bail. So far this year 143 Jamaicans have been murdered by men who are on bail for other charges. We are going to put it in law that if you are caught with a gun or any gun crime, there will be mandatory minimum sentence that you know that when you get convicted yuh gwine tan a prison fi 15-20 years,” said Montague in an address to supporters at the party’s annual conference.
He acknowledged that the controversial legislation will be challenged by the opposition and other groups, but urged JLP supporters to back the government in its battle to combat the crimewave.
Since the start of the year 795 illegal guns and 21,000 rounds of ammunition have been seized.
Montague accused the Parliamentary Opposition of refusing to meet with him to discuss the current crime problem, despite its public utterances that it wants to hold talks with the government.
“So we calling on the PNP to support us. I hear dem running off dem mout. In February, I had a meeting with officers of the PNP, they promised that they would organise another meeting. I don’t hear anything from them . I write them in July , I call them in September and all now they don’t want to meet with us to talk about crime and violence in this country. I ask them why, why, why. I want to know. They must answer us, they must meet with us…..”
The People’s National Party’s (PNP) spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson, however dismissed claims by Montague that the Parliamentary Opposition is refusing to meet with him to discuss the crime problem.
“I am not aware of any invitation from the government, certainly not to me as the opposition spokesperson on National Security. Minister Montague has invited me to one event and one event only to look at some proposal for CCTV. That’s the extent of the invitation. I’m outrightly denying it - and I’ll go even further - ask him to present any documentation to any such invitation made,” Jackson said.
Meanwhile, the National Security Minister who has come under heavy criticism for the country's crimewave, proceeded to defend the government's effort to implement its anti-crime plan.
“We all want a safer Jamaica. Of the seven categories of crime, murder and shootings are up but robbery is down by 15 percent. Aggravated Larceny is down by 28 percent and rape is down by 15 percent. We are doing the work but there is no overnight solution. There is no instant cure. There is no quick fix and this government is working … we have put a one million reward on every wanted man in Jamaica. So if you have any information on a wanted man - call crime stop and earn a million dollars for your Christmas,” he said.
- Countries: Jamaica