KINGSTON — The Government will continue to provide critical support for the security forces in the task of fighting crime, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen said on April 14.
He emphasised that the fight against crime and “respect for the rights of our citizens are not options; they are both imperatives."
The Governor-General was delivering the Throne Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, marking the start of the new financial year, which began on April 1. The theme of the Throne Speech was: ‘From Stabilisation to Growth’.
“Over the last several months, we have witnessed a significant reduction in crime. Since the start of this year, murder has declined by more than 40 per cent, when compared with last year and there has been substantial reduction in all major crimes,” the Governor-General said.
He commended members of the security forces for their valiant efforts in bringing about a reduction in the crime rate.
“We salute the work of the members of the security forces who daily face grave danger in order to protect the rest of us from danger,” the Governor-General added.
He further commended ordinary citizens who are playing their part in co-operating with the security forces to rid their communities of crime.
The Governor-General said that despite the significant reduction in crime, one cannot be satisfied, but work must continue towards further reducing the figures.
“Much remains to be done. We cannot afford to be complacent, for the level of crime we have experienced for many years is so high that we must redouble our efforts to reduce it much further to levels that are tolerable and comparable with other advancing countries,” he said.
At a press conference at the Police Officers Club, Kingston, on April 7, Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, had reported that for the first quarter of the year, 238 murders were committed, compared to 426 for the corresponding quarter of last year.
He also pointed to a 14 per cent decline in major crimes committed during the quarter, including murder, shooting, rape, carnal abuse, robbery, break-ins and larceny.
Mr. Nelson attributed the success to significant support initiatives from his Ministry, as well as increased operational support from both the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter