Generation 2000 (G2K) the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has reviewed the PNP’s anti-crime plan and highlighted the fact that the list of suggestions by the PNP are, by and large, a copy of measures that are already being implemented by the current administration. G2K’s point-by-point analysis is as follows:
1. Improve morale of members of the security forces and bolster the legal defence fund for police officers.
G2K’s Response: The Government has already announced that nineteen (19) Lawyers will be employed to work alongside the police when lawmen are being investigated.
Additionally, the Minister of National Security brought to light the fact that police officers were not being promoted to fill the 385 vacancies that existed in the force, causing low morale. It is because of this action that Policemen and Policewomen were granted long-awaited promotions. It is important to note that the Minister has on many occasions expressed his appreciation and commendation to the members of the force for their service to the country. Hence, the PNP is misinformed and out of touch with the reality of the situation.
2. Immediate recruitment to bring police force to full strength.
G2K’s Response: National Security Minister has already announced that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will intensify its recruitment process to fill three thousand (3,000) available spaces within the JCF. The announcement was made at the LASCO Police Officer of the Year awards ceremony. Also, there is now a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of the West Indies, The JCF and the Ministry of National Security that facilitates the training of JCF recruits. Hence, the PNP is misinformed, and at the very least, out of touch with the reality of the situation.
3. Provide the force with the mobility it needs to carry out its work.
G2K’s Response: The Used Car Policy for the Jamaica Constabulary Force is a creative solution that was put forward by the Government to mitigate the challenges that were inherited from the former administration with regards to the lack of police vehicles. The PNP has offered no creative solution for the mobility crisis that they left the JCF in when the demitted office.
4. Bring an end to political interference in the operations of the security forces. Prime minister and national security minister should stop all interference in the operations of the police force.
G2K’s Response: The PNP has not been able to point to a single instance of interference in the operations of the security forces by either the Minister of National Security or the Prime Minister. The PNP should desist from repeating this falsehood which is nothing more than baseless political rhetoric.
5. Immediately increase resources for crime fighting.
G2K’s Response: The National Security Ministry has invested millions in resources for the security forces. Among these were the acquisition of 4500 ballistic vests, US$40 Million – USD allocation to the Ministry of National Security for the purchase of six (6) helicopters and four (4) airplanes. Additionally, two ships were acquired for the JDF Coast Guard at a cost of US$26.4 Million and a surveillance plane, purchased at a cost of US$16.9 Million is being outfitted with a suite of equipment. The Government has significantly increased the budget allocation to the Ministry of National Security, followed by a further increase in the supplementary budget. Again, the PNP is misinformed, and at the very least, out of touch with the reality of the situation.
6. Establish a special major investigation task force.
G2K’s Response: Task forces that perform major investigations already exist, which include the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime (CTOC) Investigation Branch.
7. Deal with corruption.
G2K’s Response: The PNP has offered absolutely no specific suggestion with this broad and trite remark. However, it is important to note that under the current administration the Senate has already approved the Integrity Commission Bill, paving the way for the establishment of a single anti-corruption unit, which will investigate and prosecute corruption in Jamaica.
8. Accelerate justice reform.
G2K’s Response: This is already in-train. Cabinet has signed off on 17 more posts, including 10 Crown counsels for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Plea Negotiations and Agreement Act was passed on June 23, 2017, which will greatly assist in garnering evidence against major players in crime while reducing the backlog of court cases.
Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, has already indicated that the Ministry is seeking to increase the number of criminal courts at the Supreme Court, downtown Kingston, from six (6) to twelve (12). Mr. Chuck indicated that the Ministry is also seeking to increase the complement of Court of Appeal Judges to 12, and that arrangements are being finalised to expand the number of judges’ chambers and courtrooms. He has also advised of works to upgrade the Sutton Street Parish Court and to enhance security at the Supreme Court in Kingston. the PNP is misinformed, and at the very least, out of touch with the reality of the situation.
9. Ramp up international cooperation.
G2K’s Response: This suggestion not only lacks constructive specifics but may cause more harm than good as it dangerously implies that there is a lack of cooperation, which is another falsehood by the PNP. Jamaica has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with international crime-fighting partners, which continues to this day.
10. Strengthen key social interventions immediately.
G2K’s Response: A Social Intervention Committee which consists of the leadership and representatives of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies has already been convened, with the aim of strengthening social intervention through community and peace building initiatives.
“Given that the PNP’s crime plan is basically a copy of some of the works that are already in-train it shows that the People’s National Party is void of new ideas and unfit to govern. One hopes that their redundant statements are due to the fact that they are simply out of touch and not due to blatant hypocrisy. It would be best if they desist from using Political Rhetoric when speaking on crime in the public sphere,” said G2K President, Stephen Edwards.
Generation 2000 is calling on Dr. Peter Phillips and the People’s National Party to refrain from making baseless public statements just for the sake seeking relevance through the media. The organization is advising the PNP to focus their energies on bringing constructive, well-researched suggestions to discussions with the Government, which would be more in the interest of the country rather than their party.