The Government is again leveraging its relationship with the private sector and civil society to develop a comprehensive approach to national security.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, met with members of the non-governmental Committee for the National Consensus on Crime on June 25, to discuss a proposed framework presented by the group.
The committee comprises representatives from the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica as well as members of various civil and religious groups.
Mr. Holness reiterated the Administration’s commitment to a joint approach to finding solutions to national security as well as providing the budgetary allocation.
“The Government is always willing. The Government stands at your service to participate and lead any initiative that brings consensus…We are at your service and we are happy always when we see initiatives like these. We are particularly happy when people who have deep knowledge and experience in these matters bring them to the table to assist,” he said.
In the meantime, Mr. Holness said Plan Secure Jamaica, which is the national security plan, will equip the police and the military, boost the country’s national security intelligence architecture as well as secure the borders.
He noted that it also encompasses “a plan to create strategic cyber responses to the threats that exist and a plan to deal with the development of communities to address the social injustice and social inequity issues which underpin some of the home affairs crimes… and on top of that, we have launched a National Commission on Violence, to get to the root cause of why it is we use violence as a means of resolving conflicts”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holness explained that the State of Public Emergency (SOE) “is a very small part and very limited part of Government’s response to crime”.
He pointed out that the measures and investments being put in place to address crime and violence will take time, adding that they are implemented while respecting the human rights of citizens.
“We have used force without violence in the areas where the attention is needed, and in every case, we have either put a lid on it or we have seen massive reductions. If you look at the space in St. James, there is no question about the SOE working and we have done it in a way where we have not unnecessarily impacted on the life of the law-abiding citizens going about their businesses,” Mr. Holness said, adding that it is one of the short-term measures to address crime and violence in the country.
Prior to the meeting with Mr. Holness, the Committee met with National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, and members of the Parliamentary Opposition to present a document with recommendations for the country’s national crime-fighting strategy.