Jamaica’s New Anti-crime Strategy Starts Friday

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding, has announced that a strategic plan will be implemented Friday (July 23), to enable the security forces’ anti-crime efforts to continue beyond the current State of Emergency, which ends midnight Thursday.

“We must continue the battle. We cannot allow the gains that have been made over the past two months to be lost. Too much is at stake,” the Prime Minister pleaded in a broadcast to the nation tonight (July 21), in which he insisted that the battle “can be and must be won”.

Mr. Golding met with the High Command of the Police and the Military earlier Wednesday, to discuss fast-tracking the strategic plan, which he had urged them, previously, to prepare to enable their intensive operations to continue after the emergency ends. The decision to fast-track followed his failure on Tuesday to get Opposition MPs to support another one month extension of the emergency.

A press conference will be held Thursday morning at the office of the Commissioner of Police, Old Hope Road, Kingston, at which the Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Major General Stewart Saunders, and Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, are expected to disclose the details of the plan which can be divulged.

“In light of what transpired in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday), we discussed the fast-tracking of that plan which must now be put into effect on Friday. Tomorrow, the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Defence Staff will outline those aspects of the plan that can be divulged,” Mr. Golding explained.

He said that the strategy would include: new measures to protect witnesses; fast-tracking of trial cases involving serious crime and high profile offenders; additional equipment for the security forces with the help of the private sector, within the shortest possible time; the six anti-crime Bills recently passed by Parliament, to become effective immediately after the Governor-General’s assent; greater use of the Proceeds of Crime Act, including provisions for civil forfeiture to disable crime bosses; and development of a co-ordinated programme of social intervention for persons in fragile communities, especially young men.

However, he cautioned that, in going forward, the Police and the Military will need to rely even more heavily on the support and cooperation of the public, in providing information on where the criminals are hiding and where the guns are hidden.

He noted that many Jamaicans have experienced a sense of relief and growing confidence in recent times about effectively tackling crime.

“No matter what obstacles are placed in our way, we cannot return to a situation where people are constantly fearful and frightened,” he stated.

Mr. Golding credited the efforts of the Police and Military, over the last two months, with having a “game-changing” effect.

“We have seen what can be accomplished when there is the will and unity of purpose. We have shown that the monster of crime can be confronted and defeated. The non- extension of the State of Emergency is a setback but the battle can be won, must be won and will be won,” he said.

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