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Jamaican government tackles crime wave

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Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the government will be sparing no effort in the fight against crime.

The prime minister said the government remains resolute that the issue of crime must be addressed and will be dealt with using two parallel strategies.

Last year there were 1,192 homicides — 20 percent higher than in 2014.

He said the police have operational responsibilities and “we continue to support them with resources. We have a platform to appeal to the people who live in these communities, that violence and murders are not the only way to resolve conflicts”.

Holness noted that the high level of crime in the parish of St. James, Montego Bay, has been turning away prospective overseas investors, which he said is the center of the country’s economic activities

He said Montego Bay is the gateway for much investments that come into Jamaica and “we could get far more investments if we didn’t have to contend with the negative reports that make it internationally about the crime and violence in Jamaica and in particular, the tourist capital of Jamaica.”

Holness appealed to community members to engage the youths who were the main perpetrators to help them turn away from a life of crime. He noted that males between the ages of 14 and 24 were behind the crime wave.

“Many of you who come from the communities that produce violence know the people who are involved. I am not asking you to be police, but I am asking you to do your civic duty, talk to them, talk to the young men on the streets,” the prime minister said.

Holness, who is leader of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), was at the time addressing the party’s Area Council Four conference at the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College in Granville, St. James.

He noted that government policy has to target the young, unattached youths, adding that despite the circumstances of unemployment and the poor housing conditions, the youths can choose not to be involved in crime.

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