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Story Highlights

  • National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, says the time has come for Jamaicans to take a firm stand against the sub-culture of violence and a tolerance for criminality.
  • Mr. Bunting said for too long, Jamaicans have been resorting to violence in solving simple disputes, which often leads to murder.
  • Mr. Bunting said criminals are sometimes held in high esteem because of the role they play in the society.

National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, says the time has come for Jamaicans to take a firm stand against the sub-culture of violence and a tolerance for criminality.

Speaking at a ‘Unite for Change’ workshop at the Montego Bay Community College in St. James on  July 10, Mr. Bunting said for too long, Jamaicans have been resorting to violence in solving simple disputes, which often leads to murder.

“One of the things we have to recognize is that we (as a people) have developed some dysfunctional elements in our culture. We have developed a sub-culture of violence where our disputes are sometimes settled in a violent way. We have also developed a sub-culture of a tolerance for criminality. Instead of ostracizing those who are involved in crime and criminality, we welcome them,” the Minister argued.

Mr. Bunting said criminals are sometimes held in high esteem because of the role they play in the society.

“Sometimes we welcome them because they are very generous with their offerings to the church and we are afraid that if Pastors hit out against them, half of the pews in the church will be empty. We have to understand that this sub-culture of violence and criminality is part of what is driving the murders in this country,” he noted.

The Minister emphasized that the culture of “informer fi dead” must also be outlawed. “People must come forward and give information without the fear of being exposed to violence. The Ministry of National Security has been promoting community policing which should make it easier for citizens to make reports in an atmosphere of confidence and comfort,” he added.

Mr. Bunting said under the ‘United for Change’ project, it is hoped that issues including communication at all levels of the security spectrum, marketing and public awareness as well as an understanding of the issues, will be improved.

“Under ‘Unite for Change’, we are hoping to get a coordinated approach to crime fighting. There are a lot of programmes being done with a view of solving crime and empowering citizens. However, if all these efforts are pooled, the impact should be more focused and greater. One of the things we are hoping to do is to properly evaluate and monitor intervention programmes to see which are the most effective,” the Minister said.

The workshop was attended by a wide cross section of the St. James community and had presentations from representatives of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Harvard University, other private and public sector groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).