Members of the Media, I thank you for joining us this morning for the PSOJ’s first press briefing for 2021.
When we were planning this briefing, our intention was to share with you an update on the PSOJ’s strategic objectives for they – but this didn’t sit well with me knowing that Jamaicans are living in fear, Jamaicans are losing their lives meaninglessly.
We have to address the nation and speak to this issue.
We are facing a Crime Epidemic that requires an all of Jamaica approach.
Jamaica has been at crisis levels, with murder rates of over 1000 per year, for the past two decades. Both political parties have been in power for almost equal time over this period. Both have made well intentioned efforts and both have unrelentingly critiqued each other in the public domain while the murders continued, unabated while our Security forces battled with inadequate tools to effectively contain this epidemic.
Jamaica’s social intervention efforts over the this same period under both administrations have not delivered the results as they have been disjointed, not targeted and not monitored and evaluated for effectiveness.
In the meantime the gang culture has been entrenched in marginalized and depressed communities where the education system and the social intervention efforts have not delivered and the youth became and continue to become easy prey for the gangs due to their hopelessness and not seeing a way out for themselves.
We have to tackle this epidemic united. If we don’t we are creating our own demise.
Jamaica has no more time for political one-upmanship we have had and continue to have a major crisis in our Society.
I am sure that we all have the desire to sleep with our windows open and in the case of the violence prone communities on our beds and not underneath our beds when the gangs are trading gunshots.
I am sure all of Jamaica would like to “unite for change” to implement sustainable crime prevention and crime reduction solutions to effectively contain and dismantle these gangs as they spiral out of control and take innocent lives.
I am quite sure that we all want to “liv good” in Jamaica however this epidemic of crime will require an all of Jamaica approach a bi-partisan effort.
Jamaica achieved this national consensus, a bipartisan agreement signed off by both political parties, the Private Sector, Civil Society and the Churches. The Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee has been put in place with representation of all these stakeholder groups to provide, input and oversight of the deliverables within the timelines contained in the National Consensus Agreement.
The spirit of the national consensus agreement was to build trust and alignment around Jamaica’s crime fighting strategies which are focused around crime prevention and reduction.
This national consensus on crime is aligned around the strategies and initiatives to:
- Continue with the significant investments to modernize what was an ill-equipped national security apparatus by investing in building capacity, capability, technology and mobility of the security forces
- Focus on the overdue reforms that are underway in the JCF, the Justice system and the reforms to combat corruption
- We have accepted as stakeholders in the national crime consensus that targeted and coordinated social programmes which are monitored and evaluated will be implemented.
- We have accepted as stakeholders that Enhanced Security Measures are required to deal with the upsurges in Crime and these measures are to be aligned on in Quarter 1 of 2021.
This has been on the table since March 2019
Every-time there is a spike in crime it creates anxiety and fear in all of us as a people. We cannot stroke this fear and undermine the spirit of the national consensus and further undermine the trust of the JCF and JDF who are out there on the frontline working tirelessly to protect lives.
We have to get behind our Security Forces, the JCF, JDF and give these institutions the support that is required to fight and win this battle against the gangs which account for 80% of Jamaica’s murders.
Jamaica and Jamaicans have no more time or patience for the politicizing of crime as we seek to contain this painful crime disease.
This crime epidemic which is deep rooted requires as the consensus agreement says: a bipartisan, whole of government, national approach.
As leaders we must demonstrate commitment and stick-to-it-iveness to build the confidence of our people so that they can come on board to feel comfortable to share information on the gangs so that we can once and for all deal with this crime monster which exists within our communities.
We have this national consensus let us build on it and find ways to dialogue constructively as a people, as political parties so that we build the confidence of our people in our efforts to fight this crime epidemic in the same way we have done with our Economic programme and the Covid-19 pandemic.
We call for a level of openness from the GOJ and a solution oriented and constructive approach from our Opposition within the spirit of the national consensus as united we stand, divided we fall.