'Dispel this false notion that there is no security plan'

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness yesterday dismissed repeated statements by the Opposition that his Administration does not have an effective crime plan in place, and has called on Jamaicans to reject that assertion.

“I want to dispel this false notion that there is no security plan. I couldn't stand here and announce to you the reductions that have happened without having a systematic approach to this matter. Any Jamaican who believes that what is happening is by virtue of coincidence would be grossly mistaken or would have fallen prey to the very devious propaganda being spread by some agents who look on the success with bad mind,” Holness argued yesterday.

“The public should now reject this political argument. If we were to come out and give detail, that is ensuring that our plan doesn't work,” he said.

He was speaking at his quarterly press conference at Jamaica House.

The prime minister said the ongoing states of emergency and zones of operations forced the Government to disclose to Parliament details of the activities under those measures, facilitating debates that have seen the full participation of the Opposition.

“They are all strategy debates, and if you watch them the Opposition is there interrogating and probing and asking all kinds of questions. So in effect it's not just the Jamaica Labour Party policy. The Opposition is participating in it in Parliament at every step,” he stated.

The prime minister, at the same time, insisted the Government will not resile from its position of keeping its security strategies close to its chest. “I have to be very careful what I signal because don't believe that the criminals we are dealing with are some little fellows on the street. Those are not the criminals that are causing us the real problems; they are instruments, they are the ones whom they programme and push their buttons. Whom we are really looking out for are those people who scan our media, follow what politicians are doing, seek to influence politicians, seek to bribe public officials, who carry in contraband, and who move large volumes of illegal goods and drugs and guns…and what we are doing we would never let them know,” he said.

He noted that in recent months the security forces have taken down a number of gangs, using unconventional means. “So there is a plan and it is working quite well,” he remarked.

The prime minister noted that documents have been tabled in Parliament outlining a multifaceted approach to strengthening areas which are ultimately used by criminals to advance their activities. He said these included telecommunications, the ports, and border protection.

Holness said there has been a decline in murders of 16.8 per cent; a 15.1 per cent drop for shootings; 22 per cent for aggravated assault; 9.4 per cent for robbery; and 7.2 per cent for break-ins.

— Alphea Saunders

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