High praises for security forces in St James

High praises for security forces in St James

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Members of the security forces have come in for high praises from the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) for their provision of yeoman service throughout the state of emergency.

“The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry applauds the security forces for their hard work that has resulted in an unprecedented reduction in homicides in St James.

The parish has seen the lowest murder rate recorded in the last 20 years, with only six reported murders so far in 2020,” a section of a release from the MBCCI said Sunday. So far this year, St James has recorded six murders.

According to MBCCI President Janet Silvera, who welcomed the enhanced security measures, the runaway murder rate has had a crippling effect on the parish.

“The acceleration of violence has been taxing on the parish — the heart of the country's tourism industry. The MBCCI is pleased to see the implementation of firm and resolute measures which have sought to combat the complex and vexing problem of crime, including the public state of emergency as well as proactive policing methods. The decline in violence paves the way for an urban revival, which will in turn help to stabilise communities and make the parish safer to live, do business and expand tourism,” Silvera said in the release.

She, however, called for a long-term measure, to include the stemming of the flow of illegal weapons across the country's borders.

“While we are encouraged by the results, the chamber acknowledges that more work needs to be done. A comprehensive, long-term crime plan must be employed that comprises stemming the flow of illegal guns, creating stronger police-community bonds, and preventing the conditions that draw people into violent or criminal behaviour,” the MBCCI president stated.

She also urged the public “to cooperate with security forces”.

“We should not be afraid to get involved and to hold ourselves accountable. The goal is not just to stop the killings, it is to break the cycle of violence and displace criminal activities rooted in poverty and deprivation. The security forces by themselves cannot achieve this; it takes a united effort from a wide range of State and non-State actors. We have no doubt, working together, we will make Montego Bay a perpetual safer city,” Silvera said.

She said, too, that the MBCCI looks forward to the continued crime reduction efforts to ensure public safety and stands ready to assist in any way possible. Following a spate of murders, a state of emergency was first declared in St James in January 2018 until the end of that year. Along with the parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland, the parish was again placed under the security measure on April 30, 2019.

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