Mandeville Weekly News

BUNTING CALLS FOR HIGH LEVEL STAKEHOLDER SUMMIT ON CRIME

Posted by SR (riley) on Sep 29 2016 at 4:27 PM
Mandeville Weekly News >>

The Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Mr. Peter Bunting is calling on the Prime Minister to immediately convene a high level Stakeholders’ Summit of policy makers, the security forces, the private sector, and civil society to craft an emergency response to address the plight of citizens in St. James, and Western Jamaica, who are trapped in this cycle of lethal violence.  The goal would be to understand the complex issues contributing to the current wave of violence and develop short, medium and longer term responses.

According to Mr. Bunting, “Simultaneously, adequate funding must be provided to the security forces to enable them to sustain saturation level patrols in all affected areas.  The St. James Police Division is this year responsible for 20% of all murders in Jamaica and yet has less than 5% of police resources allocated there.”

The former Security Minister said, “With a murder rate fast approaching 140 per 100,000 this year, St. James has a higher murder rate than any country in the world!  The Unite for Change initiative recognized that violence behaves like an epidemic, sharing the same characteristics of clustering, spread, and transmission.  Those who are consistently exposed to violence, especially children, are more likely to engage in violence.  What is manifesting currently in St. James’ communities are distorted social norms where a permissive environment condones criminal behaviors, such as lottery scamming, and also encourages violent responses to minor disagreements.”

“Having participated in a Peace Day event in Montego Bay organized by the PMI West last week, I commented on the resignation and seeming acceptance of the status quo by the citizens, as evidenced by the modest support of the event even in the midst of a wave of murders and shootings.  It is based on this growing sense of fear and paralysis of those affected, and relative indifference by others not directly affected, that I believe a paradigm shift in approach is required,” Mr. Bunting said.
 Mr. Bunting added, “The Government has ultimate responsibility for the safety and security of citizens.  However, the Opposition is willing to participate in a process, along with other stakeholders, to determine an appropriate set of actions that will contain and reverse this threat primarily to the peace and safety of our citizens, and eventually to the viability of the economy of our tourism and BPO capital.”

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