Diaspora Task Force moves to reduce murder toll in Jamaica

Diaspora Task Force moves to reduce murder toll in Jamaica

Thursday, January 12, 2017

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NEW YORK, United States – Alarmed by the number of murders that have already been committed in Jamaica since the start of the new year, the Diaspora Task Force on Crime is stepping up its efforts to help the Government reduce the toll.

According to Dr Rupert Francis, convener of the task force, "teams of professionals are currently being put together to co-ordinate a master plan of action on how to deal with the matter".

The move comes after the conclusion of an executive summary which aroused discussions with authorities in Jamaica late last year on the crime situation affecting the country.

He said that the response so far "has been positive", as concerned Jamaicans within the Diaspora have been making contact "regarding how they can help".

Francis, who is a former member of the Jamaica Defence Force, said enquiries have also come from Jamaicans outside the United States.

Members of the task force spent 10 days in Jamaica last year on a fact-finding mission during which they met with officials from the Government, Opposition, private sector, and law enforcement agencies.

The task force plans to provide assistance in the areas of forensic training, cyber crime intelligence, logistics, and human resources.

Francis made it clear that the goals of the task force are long term and are tied to the 2030 economic development plan.

He said that he was "confident that the diaspora could bring the necessary changes to assist with a reduction in crime in the island".

As part of its initiative, the task force will be conducting a series of town hall meetings to sensitise the diaspora with the hope of getting full participation. Francis said the task force was also looking at setting up offices in Washington, DC; London; and Canada in a bid "to make the project as broad-based as possible".

There were more than 1,300 murders in Jamaica last year, with more than 10 since the beginning of the current year.

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