Jackson calls for action to halt Jamaica's worsening crime crisis

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Jackson calls for action to halt Jamaica's worsening crime crisis

Monday, December 02, 2019

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 KINGSTON, Jamaica— The People's National Party's (PNP) Shadow Minister of National Security, Fitz Jackson, says more needs to be done to halt the country's “worsening crime crisis”.   Jackson's comments were triggered by the recent murder of a Westmoreland businessman and his wife in the tourist destination, Negril.

Jackson, in a statement from the PNP, said the “gruesome and barefaced murders” have heightened the crime crisis and brought with it a new fear into a community which depends on tourism.

Forty-nine-year-old Osbourne Richards and his wife Patrizia Richards were murdered last week, during an apparent burglary and robbery at their West End home in Negril.

Lawmen reported that the hands of both victims were bound with an electrical cord and fabric. The police also indicted that a refrigerator was missing.

“It is indeed a sad moment for the people of Westmoreland and the entire country that as we approach the end of yet another year, the Government continues to dispense a steady stream of excuses for not being able to resolve those issues that continue to fuel the crime wave across several communities,” said Jackson.

The Opposition spokesperson also said that the killings further highlight the ineffectual use of states of emergency (SOE) on which the government has relied to solve the crime wave which has taken the lives of more than 1200 Jamaicans since the start of the year.

He said the overuse of SOEs has nullified the “shock and awe” effect that was intended to stop criminals in their tracks and allow normal policing and other security operations to proceed successfully.

Jackson also noted that for the week ending Saturday, November 30, the released data from Jamaica Constabulary Force showed that 36 more Jamaicans were murdered in that week alone.

“What more evidence does the government need to be convinced that their SOE crime fighting policy is only worsening the country's crime situation, and that there is an urgent need for change,” Jackson said.  He further added that there were 22 more murders and 71 more incidents of shootings in Jamaica this year when compared to the same time last year. 

“After four years of the government's bungling and mismanagement and two ministers of national security, the most existential crisis facing our people remains resolved and there is no new plan on the table for the new year,” Jackson said.   

“The government's decision to deploy security personnel in SOE areas, while destroying effective policing across the other Police Divisions has increased the incidents of exhaustion and tension among members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) at all ranks, and made them even more demotivated and demoralised,” he added.

 Jackson said security personnel need to be encouraged in light of the over-extended demands on members on account of these SOEs and Zones of Special Operations. 

The spokesman urged the Government to consider providing a one-off payment to the police and other security personnel as a crime-fighting incentive, stating that this should be reflected in their salaries for December 2019. 

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