JIS News

Minister of State for National Security, Dr. Donald Rhodd, has said that the government was placing increased focus on community safety and security initiatives as part of the process to fight crime.
He noted that the move represented a paradigm shift in policy from crime management to crime prevention, and to place communities at the heart of crime fighting, by building a relationship of trust and confidence between the police and citizens.
The State Minister was addressing the Portland leg of the Parish Crime Prevention Initiative and Community Safety Forum on Thursday (Aug. 31) at the Tim Bamboo Hotel in Port Antonio.
He called for a transformation of societal norms, particularly as it related to popular culture, to sustain recent success in crime fighting.
Noting that entertainers had an important role to play in the process, he said they wield tremendous influence over young and impressionable minds and urged that they desist from sending wrong signals through crudity, the unnecessary use of profanity in their public performances, and the promotion of gun lyrics and gun violence.
He said that the promotion of such negative values should also be discouraged by event sponsors, noting that there was need to bring back love and dispense with violence at entertainment centres.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rhodd attributed the 25 per cent decline in murders and shootings to the work of Operation Kingfish, as well as other specialised units of the security forces, noting that they have been successful in neutralising dons and dismantling gangs and other organized crime syndicates.
A number of drug kingpins, he added, have been arrested and extradited, or were awaiting extradition.He stated that Portland, while having a low crime rate, was not immune to the activities of drug barons and criminal networks, as the parish’s close proximity to Haiti, made it an attractive location for drug and gun trading between criminal elements in Haiti and Jamaica.
Dr. Rhodd noted however, that the recent acquisition by the government of the first 13 of 40 go fast boats, would significantly boost the capacity of the marine police to patrol the coastline in the fight against drug trafficking and gun running.
The National Security State Minister noted that the downward trend in major crimes must be sustained by growth in the economy, to create wealth and job opportunities for young people, who constitute the major cohort of the unemployed, and were most at risk of becoming involved in crime.
In this regard, he said projects such as the northern coastal highway development, was critical in providing a catalyst for investments thereby enabling the provision of employment and other opportunities.