PNP ready to join all stakeholders in crime fight

LEADER of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips says the party is giving its full commitment and is ready to sit as a genuine partner with all stakeholders, including the church, private sector, trade unions, civil society and the Government in the fight against crime and violence.

Dr Phillips, at a press conference Wednesday, reiterated his call for a united front grounded in sincerity and courage to fight criminality in Jamaica.

“Many starts have been attempted before, beginning with the January 7, 2019 Vale Royal Talks. Commitments were given by the Government, meeting dates were set, and they were all broken. Urgent follow-up opportunities were missed, and it was not until November 11, 2019, that a meeting was convened under the auspices of the PSOJ [The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica] and JMEA [Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association],” Dr Phillips said.

He said that a united national effort involving the mobilisation of the entire society is the only way forward, and again urged that there be a broad national effort to fnd a solution to violence and make Jamaica a safer and better place.

“The nation is now in a panic — in communities, towns, and amongst business owners. The current Administration is obviously at a loss as to what to do. To quote the prime minister, the crime problem is currently over and above their established capacity to address.

“After four years there is still no established national plan to confront crime. We are witnessing panic, fright and in some areas surrender,” Dr Phillips lamented.

The Opposition leader said new policies to address inequality — the root of the crime crisis — must be found and implemented.

“One cannot hope to understand the roots of crime in Jamaica without understanding the deep social inequality and the sense of marginaliasation which has condemned many citizens to hopelessness. This has in turn provided a fertile environment for criminal organisations to recruit support from these very same people who see no other option for advancement in life,” Phillips said.

He pointed to the need for better operational support for the security forces as well as the necessity of uniting the Jamaican people and organisations in the fight.

“We are fully aware that dealing with the epidemic of crime cannot be an overnight fix. But unless we begin and until we approach it with sustained commitment, sincerity and courage, the people of Jamaica will continue to experience this vortex of murder, shootings, robbery, and terrorism,” the Opposition leader pointed out.

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