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Leaders cite crime as major challenge for 2014

Thursday, January 02, 2014    

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PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller says the Government will this year double its effort to reduce crime, while calling on the citizenry to do its part to ensure success in the fight against criminality.

"We know that when Jamaicans unite to achieve something, nothing can defeat us! We need to channel that same energy and unity into national development. We can do it. We must do it! We have to determine this year that the monster of crime must be slain. We can't sit back and watch our nation's hopes go up in gunsmoke," said the prime minister in her New Year's message.

"Fellow Jamaicans, the Government cannot do it alone. Fighting crime takes a united effort. As a people and a culture, we have to set our face against criminality. This must be the year when we as Jamaicans say, with every fibre of our being, enough is enough where crime is concerned," said Simpson Miller.

The prime minister's call for a united front came as the country struggled with a resurgence in crime, especially as the murder rate picked up toward the end of the year. The year ended with 1,200 people being murdered, compared with 1,097 at the end of 2012.

In the meantime, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness said in his New Year's message that "crime must be treated as an epidemic on our social and economic systems.

"Clearly there is a failure of leadership, a marked absence of meaningful strategic approaches and no demonstrable will to mobilise adequate resources for our national security," Holness said.

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