Opposition readies proposal from meeting on crime

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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OPPOSITION Leader Dr Peter Phillips says his team is prepared to meet with the Government on a proposal to tackle the crime wave sweeping the island, following a meeting with stakeholders on the matter.

Phillips was speaking to People's National Party (PNP) supporters in Gordon Town in the St Andrew East Rural constituency Sunday night, when he made the announcement.

“I believe everyone that is paying attention to what is going on in Jamaica today will recognise that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government has failed miserably, and has abandoned their responsibilities to the Jamaican people... Who remembers when them seh you could sleep with your windows and doors open? Seh them a go control crime...anybody with a door open now, a plan them a plan a quick escape from them yard a night before gunman come,” the PNP president stressed.

According to Phillips, 5,000 Jamaicans have been murdered since 2016, the year the JLP became the Government.

He said after seven states of public emergency, murders continue to rise in the country. Phillips argued that the Government is yet to produce a comprehensive crime plan.

“The reality is that they agreed to have a meeting with stakeholders. They agreed with us in January to have that meeting, month after month after month. Them abandon the plan, so we keep our own meeting with the 40 stakeholders. The next few days we are going to give to the Government the proposals that have come out of that meeting,” said Phillips.

The leader of the Opposition said it is the PNP's hope that its members can sit with the Government to chart a way forward and “save some lives”.

Phillips stated that the Opposition party wants a national agreement on crime, which should include advice to the churches, citizens, private sector, and civil society.

“We can't just have it as state of emergency and even when you administer the states of emergency you continue the discrimination against the poor. Them seh some business can open late at nights down a MoBay (Montego Bay), but if you're a pan chicken man you affi close your business from eight o'clock at night. It can't be that Sumfest can gwaan till next morning but the round-robin man can't keep a dance and affi lock it down by midnight. That can't work,” Phillips insisted.

In January, Phillips met with Prime Minister Andrew Holness on issues of national security and crime management.

The two, in a joint statement, said the meeting enabled them and their respective teams to engage in a “full, frank and wide-ranging” discussion, although each side had “differing views” on the constitutionality of extending the states of public emergency across some sections of the island.

They both agreed that their respective legal teams would meet to discuss and agree, where possible, on the crime control powers to be utilised in the existing legislative framework or new legislation.

They also agreed that there would be further discussions with other stakeholders, including the private sector, the churches, human rights and civil society groups, to advance national consensus.

The two have not yet met.

— Kimone Francis


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