Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, says the recent incident where five women were raped in Montego Bay should be a watershed for Jamaicans to stand against criminality, and expose criminals to the security forces.
"This horrible incident can be a watershed, a turning point, an opportunity for all people of goodwill in Montego Bay, and in Jamaica, to decide that we are collectively going to ensure that we all turn our face against criminality of any sort; against harbouring criminals in our homes and in our communities, and starting to ensure that our children, our women and our boys are not exposed to what happened," the Minister said.
Mr. Bunting was addressing a large gathering who turned out to show solidarity against the abuse of women, girls and boys, in Sam Sharpe Square, St. James, on September 28.
The Minister emphasised that persons should not be “cowering” in fear because of the few criminals, and stressed that people of goodwill must show their concern by forming support groups for victims of crime, and also work with the police to end criminality in their communities.
"Your children deserve better, your parents and grandparents deserve better. I read in the media of so many young ladies, students and persons of all ages who feel they have to run home and lock up behind burglar bars, as they are afraid to be on the road when night falls. This is the time to take a stand, turn your face against all types of criminality," Mr. Bunting urged.
"Form neighbourhood watches, assist with victim support groups, and join your citizen associations, or the sport clubs that mentor young people in your community," the Minister told the audience.
He encouraged them to help in stamping out the illegal lottery scamming scheme, noting that it is contributing to much of the murders in the parish.
The Minister said he is fully aware that persons can be frustrated with the country’s justice system, but that “jungle justice” cannot be the alternative.
He said that one suspect has been taken into custody for the rape incident, and the police have additional resources to solve that crime, and tackle other criminal activities in St. James.
"People of goodwill, there is no place for jungle justice. We had an unfortunate incident (this week) where an innocent man was murdered and an innocent child severely chopped (in Trelawny). That is not justice. If you are outraged, if you are angry, if you are passionate and you want to do something, give information to the police. Find the courage and come forward," the Minister urged.
Other speakers at the event included Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris; Members of Parliament – Mrs. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, Mr. Edmond Bartlett, and Mr. Lloyd B. Smith; Miss St. James Festival Queen, Rochelle-Lee Fagan, as well as representatives from several civic and support groups, and religious leaders.