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Holness, Phillips start national anti-crime strategy talks

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips jointly confirmed in Parliament yesterday afternoon that they have started discussions on cooperation on a national anti-crime strategy.

Holness raised the issue in the House of Representatives, while opening the debate on resolutions seeking to approve the continuation of five states of emergency in St James, St Catherine, Hanover, Westmoreland, and parts of St Andrew.

Holness noted that at a meeting last Thursday with Dr Phillips and other stakeholders, they had discussed the possibility of “a national attempt at consensus around a crime-fighting strategy”.

“I am pleased to report that there has been progress in this regard,” Holness said, as MPs on both sides cheered the announcement.

He said that he and the Phillips had been facilitated by a civil society group, which he did not name, to start work towards the agreement.

He said that tomorrow there should be another stakeholders meeting, which will address the concerns and seriously look at the issues they face to create an uncontested political space, in which there can be a national consensus on a crime-fighting plan for Jamaica.

“I think that is a positive step and a step in the right direction,” Holness said.

Dr Phillips said he believes that all MPs, and the majority of Jamaicans, will accept that violent crimes represent the major threat to the country's progress.

“That this is an issue around which the entire nation should find some consensus, as to the way forward,” Phillips said.

He said that the Opposition is pleased that the venture is under way, and hopes that the result will be some measure of agreement and consensus that will embrace the wider community of stakeholders.


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