Bunting, Smith clash over murder statsFriday, March 06, 2015
KINGSTON, Jamaica - Minister of National Security Peter Bunting and the Opposition’s spokesman on security, Derrick Smith, on Wednesday clashed over recent crime figures, as the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) of the House of Representatives probed the security ministry’s 2015/16 estimates.
Bunting opened the debate, suggesting that the spike in murders, which started in January, had ended and things were getting back to normal.
“Thankfully, in February, things were back into hand and we ended the month actually below the corresponding months of the previous year and, so far in March, we are also below,” the minister told the SFC.
But, Smith responded that, if he wasn’t hearing it directly from the minister’s own mouth, he would not have believed that was what he said.
“The Minister gave the impression that, yes, we have a little problem, but everything is settling down. The problem we have is that we have killed up to yesterday (Tuesday) 184 Jamaicans, against just 160 last year. We have been averaging three murders per day… and the situation has now reached the stage where the US State Department has issued an advisory,” Smith told the meeting.
When Minister Bunting returned to respond to Smith, he said that in the eight months he had survived as Minister of National security in 2007, there were nearly 1,400 murders, 200 of which occurred in his last month in office, to the amusement of Government members.
“We have had a 40 per cent reduction over the last five years and we intend to continue that trend,” Bunting said.