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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says he is optimistic that Jamaica will benefit from the Government’s proactive implementation of initiatives to curb the upsurge in crime, beginning with the State of Public Emergency in St. James.
  • Mr. Holness was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the 13th Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Investments and Capital Markets Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (January 23).
  • He said against this background, the Administration intends to be “persistent” in the measures and strategies being pursued to arrest this challenge, adding that these would redound to the benefit of key stakeholders in the capital markets, among other civic-minded persons.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says he is optimistic that Jamaica will benefit from the Government’s proactive implementation of initiatives to curb the upsurge in crime, beginning with the State of Public Emergency in St. James.

While acknowledging “initial jitters” likely to resonate among members of civil society regarding the “definitive actions” to arrest the upsurge, the Prime Minister believes that in the medium term, “the country will benefit significantly”.

Mr. Holness was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the 13th Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Investments and Capital Markets Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (January 23).

The Prime Minister argued that the prevailing crime situation poses a serious threat to public safety, security and order and the rule of law, and, by extension, Jamaica’s economic growth programme.

He said against this background, the Administration intends to be “persistent” in the measures and strategies being pursued to arrest this challenge, adding that these would redound to the benefit of key stakeholders in the capital markets, among other civic-minded persons.

“The Government has a suite of plans that we have started to implement, and we will begin to see significant results, particularly with the reduction in murders. These are not short-term measures, and those who are supporting criminal enterprises should not believe that these are measures you can ‘wait out’,” he emphasised.

Mr. Holness said the Administration’s plan is not to merely “disrupt” crime, but to “totally undermine and uproot” criminal gangs and networks.

To this end, he warned that the security forces will be going after persons facilitating street-level criminals.

“We should never believe that the street-level criminals operate on their own. They are financed, they use our banking network, they are well connected (as) they use our telecommunications infrastructure. They also have access to good transportation (as) they buy cars and use them in the commission of crime. So, our crime plan is comprehensive, and we intend to deal with this situation once and for all,” the Prime Minister declared.

Mr. Holness appealed for the understanding and support of Jamaica’s international partners, pointing out that “this is what they have been asking us to do – to take charge of this problem”.

“My view is that the markets will interpret this as Government being instrumental and proactive in taking measures to arrest… crime,” he added.

Noting that Jamaica is the centre of culture, arts, lifestyle, entertainment and innovation in the Caribbean, Mr. Holness said he is optimistic the country will hold similar pride of place in the areas of economic activity, growth and prosperity, once crime is contained.

The two-day JSE Conference is being held from January 24 to 25 under the theme ‘Driving Growth: Regional Investments for the Climate of Change’.