KINGSTON — Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, says for the first time in recent history, the country experienced a 40 per cent decline in murder over the last 15 months.
“The year-to-date homicide rate is now 821 compared to 1,097 last year. This means a reduction of 276 homicides so far this year and when compared to 2009, some 388 fewer homicides than that year,” he pointed out, while commending members of the Security Forces for the outstanding work they have been doing.
In his message, read by State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Dr. St. Aubyn Bartlett, at the Special Constabulary Force Association (SCFA) award ceremony, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on October 5, the Prime Minister said that, “while we embrace this success, let us be mindful that the crime rate still remains at an unacceptable level and we must not in any way reduce our efforts."
The Prime Minister said that in spite of the challenges that prevail, “I urge your members to not let their feet falter, but to keep them firmly planted as we strive together to achieve the vision that we share for Jamaica- a country where sanctity and security are restored and our people enjoy peace and order."
He noted that anti crime initiatives, such as the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) and the web-based Justice Crime Observatory Integrated Crime and Violence Information System, among others, are critical measures in the fight to reduce crime.
The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the many retired and active police officers who have served and continue to serve the country well.
“The importance of our nation’s police officers cannot be underscored enough. The growth of our nation hinges on them, as without safety and security, the very foundation of our country will be eroded and prosperity will elude us,” he said.
Mr. Golding said that despite the challenges they have faced, they have been unwavering in their mandate to assist in protecting and serving the people of Jamaica.
In his remarks, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said national safety and security are fundamental elements of a stable economy and society.
He noted that those, when paired with other factors, have the potential to increase the country’s development prospects and standard of living of its citizens, adding that it is for this reason that both elements are at the core of the bi-partisan Vision 2030-national development plan.
"One of the challenges of this vision is to create the environment and conditions so that productive enterprises will be able to operate in an atmosphere where they feel secure. Based on experience and past demonstration of your commitment, I believe the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) is capable of serving as one of the driving forces for the achievement of this national vision,” he said.
Vision 2030 Jamaica is the country’s first long-term national development plan, which aims at enabling Jamaica to achieve developed country status by 2030. It is based on a comprehensive vision: ‘Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business’.
The Governor General commended members of the ISCF for their remarkable service to Jamaica in the area of law enforcement. “Despite the challenges and resource constraints, you have remained a formidable force within our country’s national security apparatus and deserve the highest praise and recognition. I do not doubt your commitment to the police force and to the country,” he said.
For his part, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of National Security, Vivian Brown, commended members of the ISCF for the role they have played in maintaining order in the country.
“The blue seam police are a very visible presence in our communities and our streets and are a symbol that the island has come to rely on and to trust,” he said.
During the ceremony, 33 persons were honoured for their sterling contribution to the ISCF.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter