Head of the Organized Crime Investigation Division (OCID), Senior Superintendent (SSP) Fitz Bailey, said that all sectors of society must regard crime fighting as a serious issue, which requires their full support and participation.
SSP Bailey, who was addressing the press launch of a security expo on Tuesday (Oct. 30), at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Western Campus in St. James, stated that crime is a developmental issue, and poses a serious threat to the functioning of the state, and the operation of businesses.
He called on the private sector, in particular, to channel more resources into vulnerable communities with an aim to steer youths away from crime and onto legitimate pathways.
"If we accept … as posited by the World Bank report, that should Jamaica reduce its crime rate to the level of Costa Rica, we would see an annual growth rate of 5.4 per cent, then serious consideration should be given to this issue,” he stated.
The Senior Superintendent said that the Commissioner of Police and the High Command, have devised a 2020 Vision “in which we envision a reduction of crime based on a structured and deliberate approach, to the level of Costa Rica. The support of the various stakeholders is crucial to this success."
According to SSP Bailey, crime reduction has become more crucial now, as other countries are looking on to see how Jamaica deals with major issues, such as the lottery scam. He noted that the illegal scheme can harm the reputation of the country, and affect crucial sectors such as tourism and call centre operations.
"Crime and violence is therefore intrinsically linked to development and no longer can we see crime and violence as a police issue, but a development issue. It is therefore critical that we recognise the need for partnership. Partnership in crime fighting must be broad-based and must include members of the private sector, civil society, including the church, youth organisations and human rights groups. The future of our country hinges on the reduction of crime and the creation of a just and civil society in which every citizen can enjoy an environment that is free from crime and the fear of crime,” he stated.
The security expo, organised by media and communications students, will be held from November 28 to 29 at the Half Moon Hotel.
The two-day event, under the theme: ‘Security a Nation – Sustaining the Future One Step at a Time,’ seeks to increase awareness of social and corporate safety among the business community and citizens of Montego Bay.
Member of the project team, Chantau Cherriton, said that students have aligned with security entities to provide security options for businesses and individuals. “We will encourage business and individuals to adopt these security measures. We cannot over-emphasise the importance of staying abreast of security threats, and to proactively address these threats,” she stated.
The Montego Bay Chamber and Industry is a major sponsor of the event and President, Davon Crump, said the group is pleased to offer its support.
"The cause you are tackling… is academic by nature, but if properly implemented can have far-reaching effects on this country, especially in light of the issue you have chosen to highlight – that of securing our nation, which… seems to be under siege,” he stated.