JAMAICA | PNP calls on Security Minister to Resign, Comissioner on 60-day Warming

JAMAICA | PNP calls on Security Minister to Resign, Comissioner on 60-day Warming

Kingston, Jamaica January 25, 2022: The People’s National Party is calling on the Government to take responsibility for its poor management of the country’s national security and relieve  the Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang, of his duties post-haste.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding said Dr. Horace Chang’s tenure as Minister of National Security has been an abject failure, leaving Jamaicans feeling frightened, hopeless and in despair.Opposition Leader Mark Golding said Dr. Horace Chang’s tenure as Minister of National Security has been an abject failure, leaving Jamaicans feeling frightened, hopeless and in despair.At a press conference this morning, Opposition Leader Mark Golding said that under the leadership of Dr. Chang, the island's crime rate has progressively worsened, with a 10% increase in murders in 2021 and a 19% increase in murders for the first three weeks of 2022.  “Dr. Horace Chang’s tenure as Minister of National Security has been an abject failure, leaving Jamaicans feeling frightened, hopeless and in despair. He clearly cannot bring the vision and vigour which that portfolio requires. We are calling on the Prime Minister to relieve him of his duties in that portfolio, and give someone else an opportunity to bring a fresh and, hopefully, more effective approach," said Mr. Golding.

Our citizens deserve a Minister who is able to bring fresh ideas and an effective approach to addressing crime and violence in Jamaica. Therefore the Opposition believes a new Minister is needed to  bring new energy and renewed focus to this most critical portfolio. 

The Opposition has also put Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, on a 60-day warning saying that he should be replaced if he is unable to deliver a strategic approach that does not  involve abrogating rthe people's fundamental rights and freedoms.

"Commissioner of Police Antony Anderson is also hereby put on warning. He is the main architect and promoter of the Government’s SOE strategy as an ongoing policing tool. No other Commissioner of Police before him has followed that unprecedented and dangerous path, abrogating the most basic and hard-won rights of Jamaicans. The constitutionality of his use of SOEs is in serious doubt,"  Golding said.

“The Commissioner of Police is the main architect and promoter of the Government’s SOE strategy as an ongoing policing tool. No other Commissioner of Police before him has followed that unprecedented and dangerous path. As I have already shown there are other tools in the tool box for him to use. If he cannot find another strategic approach to getting the crime problem under control within the next 60 days, he must call it a day and allow someone else to take up the mantle of Commissioner,” Mr. Golding said.

The Opposition said it was again "imploring the Government to utilise the tools available to fight crime, such as Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs), Police Powers Act, and social intervention initiatives such as Unite for Change and the Peace Management Initiative. It is also imperative that the Government enact the necessary legislation to enable our security forces to do their jobs. Critical pieces of legislation such as the Enhanced Security Measures Act and  amendments to the Firearms Act have been delayed by the government, as they have been tardy in bringing these legislations to Parliament."

There must be accountability for such poor performance in the critical area of our national security, the PNP said.

In the meantime, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information, Robert Morgan, has labelled Mr. Golding's statement  as an attack on the Commissioner of Police by Opposition Leader Mark Golding. He says it is unbecoming and it demonstrates, that given the choice between the protection of Jamaicans and politics, he has chosen politics.

According to Morgan,  Mr. Golding should remember that Jamaica’s laws expressly empower the Heads of the security forces to recommend the use of States of Emergency, (SOEs.) He said Mr. Golding and the Opposition should recognize that the public is patently aware the security forces are not the only bodies or persons who have called for or supported a call for SOEs. 

"Residents of affected inner city communities, members of the business community and indeed the entire cross-section of Jamaicans have been represented in separate polls reflecting more than 70 percent of Jamaicans being in support of the implementation of Public States of Emergency to curb murders," Mr. Morgan said.

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