Holness sees 2022 as turning point in violence fight
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) and Opposition Leader Mark Golding unveil a plaque in Gordon House commemorating the 60th anniversary of Independence sitting of the House and Senate on Friday. (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica is entering a period which will be seen in the future as the turning point towards a more peaceful society.

"My Administration has already begun to create the legislative framework to address violence and public disorder," he told parliamentarians and their guests attending a special sitting of both houses at Gordon House recalling Jamaica's 60 years of Independence on Friday.

"When this period is reflected on, decades from now, it will be acknowledged as the turning point in Jamaica's development towards a more peaceful and less violent society," he insisted.

Listing the initiatives his Government has planned to counter the high number of crimes, from shootings to lottery scamming, which have gripped the country for several months, Holness said they included the new Road Traffic Act and its stern regulations aimed at reckless driving, including by motorcyclists, which has already pushed road deaths beyond the 200 mark this year; amendments to several legislation, including the Firearms Act,, especially in terms of the trading in guns and the right to use them; as well as changes to the Bail Act, Enhanced Security Act, Offences Against the Person Act and the Sexual Offences Act.

"All these, taken together, will create a robust and modern framework relevant to the issues at hand to secure our social order," he said.

But, he noted that Brand Jamaica is still strong globally, and for that his Government is very thankful and proud.

"Our political classes have demonstrated that they can come up with the policies to address the social issues, that can build the institutions, but we have just not seemed to have set the economic policies," he told the House.

"However, we are now on our journey to consolidate our Independence and, as I have said repeatedly, this is a priority for any Administration," Holness said.

He said that in 1962, when Jamaica became independent, Jamaicans could not have imagined the level of access to weapons and the rampant use of violence in settling disputes between each other.

However, he insisted that the level of narcotic and human trafficking, scamming, cybercrime and the growth of criminal gangs did not emerge only in the last decade, as they have been present and growing significantly over the last 30 years.

"The truth is that our society has changed and is changing much faster than the legislative framework necessary to preserve social order," he stated.

Holness said that for decades both major political parties have made decisions that are inconsistent with sound economic thinking, which have had detrimental social and economic consequences.

"External events, like national disorders, global recession and wars have created serious challenges, but we must admit that some of these crises have been of our own making," he argued.

He said that among the deficiencies was the fact that State entities were allowed to continue to operate without immediate intervention resulting in the accumulation of debt of which, he said, was the story of Finsac in the 1990s.

Holness also told the House that the most outstanding achievement of the nation in the last decade was the political consensus around sustainable fiscal management and debt reduction.

"I know and understand that many of our citizens, at the moment, may not immediately feel or appreciate the benefit of sustainable fiscal management. However, the economic buffers that were established as a result of good fiscal management have enabled us to withstand the back-to-back effects caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine," he pointed out.

After his address Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding unveiled a plaque commemorating the 60th anniversary of Independence joint sitting.

By Balford Henry Observer senior write

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