Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, has said that he is seeking to form partnerships with various segments of the society in order to address the country’s crime problem.
“It is my intention to forge a new alliance between community and state, a new alliance between community and police and a new alliance between the community and those who would wish the country to revert to the state when we could all walk freely and leave our windows and doors open without fear,” Senator Nelson stated.
Addressing a Meet the Ministers forum held Tuesday (June 2) at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston Senator Nelson noted that as part of the strategy to forge a new alliance between the community and the state, the Ministry has embarked on a series of national consultations on crime, the first of which was held on Thursday (May 28) at the Montego Bay Civic Centre in St. James.
He informed that the technical persons within the Ministry will be meeting next week to analyse all the suggestions made by the public during this national consultation.
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson (centre), makes a comment at a Meet the Ministers Forum, held on June 2, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston. Listening are (from left): Managing Partner, Samuda and Johnson, Attorneys-at Law and Director, Strategic Corporate Interventions Limited, Milton Samuda (left) and Partner, Samuda and Johnson, Attorneys-at Law and Chairman, Strategic Corporate Interventions Limited, Christopher Samuda.
“One (suggestion) was the matter of the physical situations with which the policemen find themselves. We have allowed police stations over the years to deteriorate to the point where they are absolutely disgusting. The citizens were very concerned about that, and that was one of the concerns coming out and this we are addressing,” Senator Nelson stated.
Citizens also raised concern about the deployment of police throughout the communities. “They thought that we needed to re-examine how we deploy the policemen. They thought that there was some inadequacy and that there were areas that were not adequately policed. This we are going to address,” he informed. The Security Minister also said that there are plans to establish performance measures to ensure that the police carry out their responsibilities.
Reiterating his intention to create a reserve police force, Senator Nelson explained that “when the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) was started, it was supposed to have been a part time force because the members, in fact, had their vocations. But because of the reducing (police) complement, what we find now is that the blue seams are full time and are performing duties, just like the regular policemen. Therefore, we have to look somewhere down the line when we merge the two forces.”
As it relates to the dismantling of gangs, Senator Nelson stated that: “if you are going to fight crime, then you must be prepared to deal with this phenomenon. Gangs are responsible for at least 80 per cent of the murders and other heinous crimes committed in this country. We are going to have to remove gang leaders and their supporters from the communities. We are going to have to hit them where it hurts most and this is where we are going to have to aggressively implement the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
He added: “We cannot allow them to continue to flaunt their ill-gotten gains in our faces. Gang leaders are living in $50 million houses and driving $12 million cars. We will have to take that away from them and the law gives us this competence, so we are going to be addressing the dismantling of these gangs.”
The Meet the Ministers forum is an initiative geared at promoting dialogue between the private sector and the Government of Jamaica. It is organised by Strategic Corporate Interventions Limited and Samuda and Johnson, Attorneys-at-Law.