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Crime is Jamaica's biggest problem, says Bunting

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | 6:08 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica  — National Security Minister Peter Bunting says that in spite of achievements made last year, crime and corruption remains the main obstacles to rapid growth and development in Jamaica.

“The truth of the matter is… investment in national security is an investment in Jamaica’s economic growth and development,” Bunting argued.

Speaking at the launch of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation’s (JEF) 31st annual business and workplace convention and expo, held at the Knutsford Court hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday, January 22, the minister said increased investment in the fight against crime and violence would augur well for the country’s economy.

According to the security minister a number of studies conducted by the World Bank and various other multilateral institutions, showed that crime continues to be Jamaica’s biggest problem.

He said too that a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of the West Indies showed that over the last four decades, if Jamaica had a normal crime rate, the country’s economy would be between three to 10 times its size now in terms of Gross Development Product (GDP).

Bunting also informed that the country is currently ranked 97 on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) competitiveness index, slipping 30 places in the last five years.

“This has an impact on investor confidence and I don’t need to tell you about the impact it has on the cost of doing business in Jamaica and more generally, just eroding the quality of life,” he said.

The Minister reiterated the ministry's plans to further reduce all crimes by double digits for 2013.

He said that the ministry is looking to recruit an additional 5,000 soldiers and police officers to further boost crime fighting capacity.

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