Opposition concerned about non-gang-related murdersWednesday, January 07, 2015
OPPOSITION spokesman on national security, Derrick Smith, says that while he welcomes the substantial decline in gang-related murders last year, he is concerned about the significant increase in non-gang-related murders in the figures produced by the Jamaica Constabulary Force for 2014.
In a press statement yesterday, Smith said that Minister of National Security Peter Bunting must seek to find out what is the cause of the rise in non-gang-related murders, which he called a new development.
"We need to know whether this means that our focus on criminal gangs is causing them to break up into smaller units and individuals, which are less easy to be detected, as a way of getting around our anti-gang measures," Smith said.
The Opposition spokesman also raised the issue of the 24 murders committed in the first seven days of the new year, and warned Bunting against celebrating last year's 16 per cent decline in murders too early.
"The situation is definitely not a cause for too much celebration by the minister, considering that he had inherited a downward trend in 2012, and the fact that the figures were significantly inflated in mid-2013 by a sudden spike in murders which continued to the end of the year," Smith said.
"I am concerned that the minister may once again find himself in a position where he has become so absorbed in the celebration, as he did last year, and lose focus on the fact that he is really continuing a process which began prior to his appointment, and still is far from complete."
Smith, at the same time, congratulated the security forces on the tremendous job they have been doing, despite the extremely poor working conditions in which they operate and the failure of the Government to increase the budget of the Ministry of National Security significantly enough to provide them with the resources to make the best use of legislation passed over the past few years.
He said that, in addition to recognising the leadership of the minister of national security, the country must also pay tribute to former Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington for laying the foundation for the recovery, and the new commissioner, Dr Carl Williams, for his efforts to continue the process.
"The Opposition has constantly given full support to the legislative measures, because we recognise that for Jamaica to successfully complete its current Extended Fund Facility agreement with the International Monetary Fund, and to achieve the levels of growth that will help us to reduce our indebtedness and improve production and job creation, we must significantly reduce the level of crime and violence in the society. However, we recognise that there is a lot more than policing that is needed to sustain any success that is achieved," Smith said.
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