Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asserted that the Government does not only depend on exceptional powers such as States of Public Emergency to curb crime. He says the Government has also made long term investments in infrastructure and human development.
Speaking yesterday, July 14, 2021, at the official opening of the new Mount Salem Police Station in Mount Salem St. James, Prime Minister Holness noted that these investments will yield long-term results in reducing the murder rate.
The Prime Minister said: “The objective of the Government remains to bring our homicide rate from 47 murders per 100,000 people to the goal of just below the regional average of 15 murders per 100,000 people. My own belief is that, had we have the State of Public Emergency we would have been moving much faster down the ladder. So, we have to use the tools available to us and we have to be strategic with the resources we have.”
Importantly, Prime Minister Holness said integral to our crime-fighting strategies is the focus on criminal gangs and the cultural entrenchment of using violence to resolve conflicts.
Prime Minister Holness said: “It is possible to decrease the murder rate by strengthening our security forces, making the investment in the security infrastructure and at the same time changing the culture and mentality of our people to work in peace and respect of each other.”
In the meantime, the Prime Minister is confident that the investments in national security as well as the strategies the Government has put in place, will transform Jamaica from a place of 47 per 100,000 homicides, to below the regional average.
“I believe we are doing as best as we can, to try and ensure that the security forces are not viewed as oppressors and abusers of the people, but as best as possible, serve the people with respect and preserve the dignity of the people in addition to being able to switch gears and deal with criminal elements,” added the Prime Minister.
The Government has committed to improving the conditions under which the police serve the public which is evidenced by the massive investment in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of police stations, more surveillance aircraft, offshore patrol vessels, and helicopters.
The opening of the Mount Salem Police Station follows new police stations commissioned across the island including the Olympic Way and Adelphi stations.
The Mount Salem Police Station was constructed in less than eight months through a grant from the European Union.