Professor Chevannes Outlines Cost of Violence


The high level of violence in Jamaica consumes an estimated four per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which has resulted in much loss to the country.
This is included in data produced by the University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor Barry Chevannes, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), has said.
“That is a lot of money. That is, billions of dollars [diverted to] security guards, in extra lighting, in the loss of personnel and we are not even calculating the loss of those who are bereaved and all of that,” he said at the weekly JIS Think Tank, held at the agency’s headquarters on Half-Way Tree Road on January 23.
Elaborating, he said that if the nation could liberate the amount of money channeled into stemming the problem of violence, it could be freed up to further improve other sectors, such as education and health.
Professor Chevannes also pointed to the fact that while the number of deaths attributed to violent acts were of importance, the high incidence of trauma and injury associated with violent acts were equally significant in terms of impacting on the GDP.
“Forty per cent of the hospital recurring budgets are consumed with injuries. Most of the injuries come not from motor vehicle accidents but from violent conflicts, so every section of society stands to gain from peace,” he argued.
“There is no life in gun culture and no society can be indefinitely at war. It must end some time, as it is an aberration which is abnormal. It is peace that is normal, and so there has to be an effort to bring about normalcy once more, that people can go about their lives freely and without fear,” Professor Chevannes stressed.
To this end, Peace Month, which is being organized by the Violence Prevention Alliance, will be observed from February 6, Bob Marley’s Birthday to March 4, when an official peace march will be held on the streets of Kingston calling on the nation to adopt the principles of peace and not violence.

JIS Social