THE Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) says that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and National Security Minister Peter Bunting must signal to the police the support to be given to them to help them stem the tide of rampant criminality.
"I think the whole country is extremely concerned about the escalating levels of crime right across Jamaica. Two weeks ago the minister of national security, in his statement to Parliament, indicated that murders over the past two months had soared to four murders per day and last week we saw where at least 34 murders were reported, which suggest sa continuation of escalation to almost five murders per day," the Opposition spokesman on national security, Delroy Chuck, said at a press conference yesterday.
"Notwithstanding, the statement by the minister almost two weeks ago, we have not heard from him or the prime minister [on] what is being done to address this escalation in crime," Chuck told journalists at a specially arranged press briefing at the party's headquarters in St Andrew.
He said the present Government had failed to make the necessary policy decisions that could assist the police, who are doing all they can on the operational side.
"When this problem arose under the Jamaica Labour Party Government, we enacted six crime bills and that undoubtedly assisted in bringing down crime. From 2010 up to 2012, there was a decline in criminal activity, in particular murders. The Government refused to renew any of these six crime bills and what we have seen is, for the past three months at least, not only an escalation in serious crimes but murders in particular," Chuck argued.
"It is extremely sad to note that every time the People's National Party Government is in power, we always see crime increasing and that is because the Government fails to focus on many of the problems that contribute to disorder and criminality," the Opposition spokesman added.
"The Opposition calls on the prime minister and the minister of national security to say exactly what support is now being given to the police to ensure that they keep the crime problem under control, and also, how are they inspiring communities to assist the police in ensuring that criminality does not get out of control," Chuck said yesterday.
"Under our administration we urged the police to have regular community meetings so that intelligence-gathering could be improved, and that has undoubtedly assisted in many communities to bring close relationships between the communities and the police. Somehow, one gets the impression that this is no longer a focus," he added.