MONTEGO BAY, St James — National Security Minister Peter Bunting has announced a 50 per cent decline in murders recorded in the St James police division during the last quarter of 2012, following the implementation of various strategies after the rape of five females — including an eight-year-old.
“We, at the time, together with the commissioner (of police), agreed on a number of initiatives in terms of strengthening the security presence in Montego Bay. We put an additional company of JDF soldiers down here, the chief of staff cooperated with us; there were some Mobile Reserve personnel that were sent down, [and] Senior Superintendent (Andrew) Lewis was transferred from Trelawny to take over in St James,” recounted the security minister.
He added: “At that time we had already met with the chamber of commerce, we had met with the (St James police) civic committee much earlier, I met with the minister of tourism and the chairman of the TEF and we got them to commit some money to purchasing some vehicles for St James as well as the other tourism parishes, and a number of things were happening, and the good news is since that time we have had about a 50 per cent reduction in murders in the parish of St James, which is quite phenomenal.”
Bunting noted that figures up to last week indicated that the trend of decline has carried over into 2013.
“When I look at the statistics so far we are 47-50 per cent down on the corresponding period last year. So we can be very hopeful. Fifty per cent is not trivial; 50 per cent is dramatic,” he said.
He expressed hope that if the downward spiral is maintained throughout the year, it will “make an exceptional difference to the whole quality of life and the prospect for development in St James”.
“It will improve businesses, it will improve tourism. Everybody will benefit. Children will go to school without fear or with much less fear of being raped (or of) something happening to them between school and home, etcetera. The people will feel more secure at home, just the whole environment will improve. People tell me they are feeling an improvement,” the security minister continued.
He was addressing members of the St James Police Civic Committee at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay last Thursday.