Jamaica’s Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang. (GP)
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Kingston – Private sector groups Tuesday called for a change in the approach to dealing with crime and violence in Jamaica and renewed a call for the government and opposition to reach some form of consensus amid concerns of an increase in child murders.
“Jamaica has lost too many bright, young minds, who had the potential to make significant contributions to the nation. Sadly, we will never know what these children could have been, because while at the forefront the country has been battling [coronavirus] COVID-19, crime continues to rear its ugly head,” the private sector groups said in a joint statement.
Last week, Minister of National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said that a man had been arrested in connection with the “vile and brutal” murders of eight-year-old Toya Brown and 15-year-old Nyron Taylor.
The groups – the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) – said the month of May, which is recognised as National Child’s Month, has so far been marred by a period filled with “grave sadness”.
“The singular approach and focus to mitigating the impact of COVID-19, underpinned by citizenry and political directorate support, should be equally channelled and replicated in tackling crime and violence,” the private sector groups said, noting that Jamaica’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the country is able to unite “when there is a threat to our very existence”.
“It is this level of response and coordination that must be used in our approach to reduce crime and violence. There must be a national consensus, whereby the Government and the Opposition can come together on the issue and lead in a collaborative and organised manner. Our people too have a responsibility to play their part by speaking out against perpetrators,” the statement added.
More than 400 people have been murdered in Jamaica since the start of the year. (CMC)