KINGSTON, Jamaica - Prime Minister Andrew Holness is calling for political consensus in dealing with the matter of crime in Jamaica.
In a release on Thursday, Holness, who was speaking at the public presentation of the National Commission on Violence Prevention at the Banquet Hall, Jamaica House, noted that “we haven’t been able to get to political consensus”.
“We are attempting it. We have a framework in place, we have the Crime Monitoring Oversight Committee (CMOC), but we haven’t reached genuine consensus on how to tackle crime,” he said.
Holness said it is hoped that once the political class is confronted with factual data, recommendations, and conclusions from the Commission, which is an independent body, they “would then have to look at it and come to a reasonable understanding as to what we need to implement”.
The Prime Minister noted that reaching an agreement is important in ensuring continuity of policy measures when administrations change.
“There are some things that you can put into law, but governments change and the priority for enforcement can change. But… once you have that underpinning consensus, then you can really make the change,” he said, highlighting that the country would benefit immensely from the agreement on a strategy that effectively treats with crime and violence.
“So, I am using this platform to say to our counterparts in the Opposition, let us create a space in which the treatment of violence is not contested politically and that we share in the victory of overcoming violence. That is going to be a signal achievement for the country, and it doesn’t have to be anybody getting political benefit off it,” he expressed.
The Commission, which is chaired by internationally renowned researcher Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, is mandated to conduct a continuing comprehensive review of all existing public and private violence-prevention programmes as well as the strategies of the Government.
Its purpose is to identify gaps in the prevention and intervention services and to make recommendations with respect to violence prevention and intervention programmes.