Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, is calling on Jamaicans to commit to taking bold action against crime and violence this Jubilee year, and to bringing crime statistics down to first world levels within the shortest possible time.
“It's really time that we issue ‘a call to action’…of the entire society. I have taken that up as a call that I am almost evangelical about, because I believe that the people of this country, the citizens of this country, the children of the next generation, deserve to come and see better than what is going on now,” he stated.
He was delivering the keynote address at Friday's (July 6) official opening of the Malvern Police Station in St. Elizabeth.
Mr. Bunting said that promoting proper values and attitudes will be important to the process, with all leaders, whether in the church, civil society, schools, or in the political arena, playing a key role.
“We have to take this on as a mission; let us make it our Jamaica 50 mission, because we have much to be proud of in the 50 years of Independence, but one of the areas that we cannot hold our heads high and say that we have done well is in the area of crime and violence,” he stated.
Minister Bunting expressed his personal commitment to doing all that he can to get the whole society mobilised around the mission, noting that every effort will be made to properly equip the police to play their part.
“I know that the leadership of the police force is committed and I really invite and engage the wider society to get onboard. Get on this mission, not just for ‘Jamaica 50’ but for Jamaica 50, 51, 52, 53, until we get violent crimes down to acceptable levels, which I consider to be first world levels, within the shortest possible period of time,” he stated.
Meanwhile, statistics for the first half of the year show that police fatal shootings are down 13 to 14 per cent over the similar period last year. Crime is down three per cent when compared to January to June 2011, and nine per cent over the July to December period.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Derrick Cochrane, in his remarks, encouraged the residents of Malvern and surrounding districts to continue to form alliances with the police, with a view to achieving a crime-free and safe community.
He warned against accommodating migrating criminals, who are fleeing the pressures of law enforcement in other areas.
The building, which houses the Malvern Police Station and courthouse, was destroyed by Hurricane Dean in 2007, forcing the police to occupy another structure on the premises.
The new facility was constructed at a cost of approximately $15 million.