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  • The Government has identified the reduction of crime as its most urgent priority and a national imperative.
  • This was disclosed by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who was delivering his 2017-18 Throne Speech in Gordon House today (Feb. 9).
  • The Governor-General, in his address themed: ‘A Firm Foundation for Prosperity’, also indicated that the Government has identified inclusive, sustainable economic growth and job creation as a strategic priority for the medium-term.

The Government has identified the reduction of crime as its most urgent priority and a national imperative.

This was disclosed by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who was delivering his 2017-18 Throne Speech in Gordon House today (Feb. 9).

He said the Government is focused on fulfilling a five-pillar security strategy to comprehensively and strategically address crime, which includes effective policing; rehabilitation, redemption and redirection of inmates; social development interventions; situational prevention of crime; and swift and sure justice.

“There is a need in Jamaica to rebuild our communities that have been divided by crime and lawlessness. We must, as a nation, assert the rule of law and jealously guard its promotion,” he said.

“We must focus on the great challenges that face us as a nation; the risks to our women and children, illicit actions by some of our citizens and the need to deal with corruption and public inefficiency, frontally,” he added.

The Governor-General outlined plans by the Administration to strengthen the institutional capacity of the security forces to be more proactive and to effectively respond to criminal actions and emerging threats.

These include supporting the modernisation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), increasing the number of security personnel, and strengthening the mobility of the forces by increasing the fleet of vehicles and improving fleet management.

The Governor-General, in his address themed: ‘A Firm Foundation for Prosperity’, also indicated that the Government has identified inclusive, sustainable economic growth and job creation as a strategic priority for the medium-term.

He said several multi-pronged initiatives will be pursued as part of a comprehensive strategic plan, along with Government-wide coordination, statistics and research.

Trade and investment facilitation, managing public sector costs and governing efficiency and service delivery will continue to guide the Administration’s approach to modernisation and fuel the restructuring of the public sector, Sir Patrick said.

Other areas of focus highlighted in the Throne Speech include justice reform, the reform of laws that protect women and children, tax reform, privatisation of Government shares in State-run entities, the development and implementation of a National Identification System and an Integrated Transport System.

The Government also committed to continuing the transformation of the education sector and will this year implement the full roll-out of the National Standards Curriculum. The School Feeding

Programme is also being reorganised to ensure that more students benefit from a free meal.

A rigorous legislative agenda was also announced for the 2017-18 financial year, including the tabling of a new Police Service Act to replace the JCF Act, as well as legislation to establish the Major

Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency as an independent national law enforcement agency.

Sir Patrick urged partnership and unified action for Jamaica’s sustained growth and called on members of the Houses of Parliament to lead the transformation of the country.

“Your task must be to lead a transformation of Jamaica that focuses on the positive growth and development of our people; protecting the rights of the most vulnerable while at the same time ensuring the growth and vision of the entire nation,” he said.