The Government invested more than $45 billion to improve the capacity and capability of the country’s security architecture during the fiscal years 2016/17 to 2019/20.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said with a further $15.9 billion budgeted for 2020/21, the Administration would have invested approximately $61 billion in national security over a five-year period.
The Prime Minister, in his Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on March 19, pointed out that the investment represents more than four times the $14.7 billion spent for the previous five-year period from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016.
He said that through a combination of the States of Emergency (SOEs) and Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) imposed in selected parts of the country, as well as investments made in capacity-building in previous years, the country saw a 22 per cent decline in murders in 2018.
“Although there was a slight increase of 3.5 per cent in murders when compared to 2018, in 2019 the country can take heart from the fact that the security forces, through various strategies and measures, were able to hold murders relatively stable.
“We have had terribly brutal spikes – multiple murders as a part of inter-gang warfare and retaliation and, of course, the scourge of domestic violence. Our understanding of the pain, fear and disruption caused by these murders keeps us focussed on the importance of this fundamental national mission for the decade ahead,” he said.
Mr. Holness noted that the returns on the unprecedented investments in the security apparatus are already bearing fruit and more gains will be realised in the coming years.
“It will take time to disrupt and erode the criminal operations and network built up over years and even longer to curb violent behaviour embedded in our culture,” he said.
He noted that the Government is committed to ensuring that “our fix to the crime situation is well thought out and sustainable. We understand that a knee-jerk or reactionary approach will not deliver the results we need”.