Jamaica seeks US$1 billion to fight gangs
Recruit police, remove dons and rebuild communities
JAMAICA is seeking US$1 billion in loans and grants to help remove dons and rebuild the poor communities they have long dominated, reports Bloomberg News.
The money will also be used to raise the complement of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) from its current 8,500 personnel towards its target of 12,000.
Government officials have been meeting with donor countries and international lending institutions such as the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB).
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration believes that it has improved its credibility following its assault on organised crime in the garrison community of Tivoli Gardens, which lies within the West Kingston constituency of Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
“Our investment partners have recognised that this government is demonstrating it knows how to deal with the crime problem," Minister of Finance Audley Shaw told Bloomberg in a telephone interview.
The United States welcomed the recent action by Government, prompted by Prime Minister Bruce Golding agreeing after nine months of drama to comply with the United States' extradition request for Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, reputed don of Tivoli Gardens.
However the international media reports are raising questions about the deaths of 73 civilians in the West Kingston operation and the relationships between politicians and dons in Jamaica. Meantime Coke remains at large.
Golding is hoping that his new anti-crime crusade will help rebuild his political fortunes after he was forced to offer his resignation as prime minister over the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips affair, the US law firm hired by his governing JLP to lobby the US government against the extradition.
Areas of Kingston remain under a State of Emergency, declared for one month on May 23.