JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said the government had a good discussion with the Opposition during talks at Vale Royal today (June 11) and that much of the meeting centred on crime. Mr. Golding was speaking this afternoon following the talks which started shortly after 10:00 a.m. and ended at approximately 2:30 p.m.
He said there was total unanimity on both sides that crime was a matter which the country needed the most urgent attention. He said the meeting was briefed by the police on its operational master plan and that both parties looked at what else needs to be done in terms of resources and legislation to strengthen its capabilities. The Prime Minister explained that the report was presented by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, as Police Commissioner, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin was off the island and Acting Commissioner , Jevene Bent was in St. Ann on official duties.
Mr. Golding said an immediate action arising from the meeting calls for more intensified police activity. He said some activity had been implemented but needs to be sustained. The Prime Minister commended the men and women of the security force and called on all Jamaicans to give them their support. He said the society would have to make some choices as to whether it was prepared to be inconvenienced in order to restore law and order, as the country was facing an extraordinary challenge.
Turing to capital punishment, Mr. Golding said the matter was discussed in relation to its retention and application. He said the issue will be the subject of a conscience vote in Parliament. The meeting also focused on preparations for the 2008 hurricane season and how to improve the country’s response capability.
In her remarks, Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller agreed that both sides had a good and frank meeting. She said the Opposition would support the government in anything that positively impacts the nation. She said that as a nation, we should all look at how we operate in our communities in order to tame the monster of crime.
Mrs Simpson-Miller also commended the security forces and called on Jamaicans to support them in their crime fighting efforts. She said Jamaicans should respect the police and that they in turn should show respect for the people. She made an appeal to criminals to ‘cease and desist’ and stop spilling the blood of people.
Both parties are to continue dialogue on a number of key issues especially those relating to crime.
In addition to Prime Minister Bruce Golding, government Ministers attending today’s meeting were, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Ken Baugh, Minister of National Security, Colonel Trevor MacMillan, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda and Minister of Water and Housing Dr. Horace Chang. Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Dorothy Lightbourne, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw and, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Shahine Robinson, were also in attendance.
Mrs. Simpson Miller was accompanied by Chairman of the Opposition Party, Robert Pickersgill and General Secretary Peter Bunting, who is also the shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce. Other Opposition shadow ministers included, A.J. Nicholson, Justice; Dr. Omar Davis, Finance and Planning; Dr. Peter Phillips, National Security and Roger Clarke, Agriculture.