JIS News

Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, has said that in addition to the $12 billion spent annually by the Ministry and its associated agencies, conservative estimates show that an additional $2 billion would be required each year, over the next four to five years.
This would be necessary in order to develop the minimum standards necessary for an effective infrastructure of law enforcement, the Minister emphasized.
Dr. Phillips was speaking recently at the International Conference on Violence Prevention, hosted by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston.
The Minister explained that in light of the constraints on the national budget, developing the necessary law enforcement standards would require a phased approach, as well as the use of international partnerships.
He told the Conference that Jamaica was working with regional and international partners “to curb the scourge of crime and violence”.
Dr. Phillips said that regionally, Jamaica was working with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) partners to share information and to develop strategies to respond to the drug menace. “To this end, CARICOM has established a standing committee of Attorneys-General and Ministers of National Security to co-ordinate its efforts,” he noted.
“At the international level, we are encouraged that the United Nations is taking on a major focus on the trafficking in small arms and on actions needed to combat international terrorism, an area which requires even closer international co-operation,” he added.
Dr. Phillips said he was pleased that some of Jamaica’s partners, including the United States, had become more sensitive to the need for active efforts, to stem the flow of guns from their jurisdictions into the Caribbean.
He also acknowledged support from the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and “other partners in the hemisphere, in helping with training, equipment, and intelligence sharing”.
Minister Phillips said that the Conference should send out a clear message that collective efforts at violence prevention would be slow and frustrating, unless there was a more robust response from the international community.
“The truth is that crime and violence in one country, affects people in another. Failure to deal with the development issues in a country like Jamaica, would reverberate in places like Brixton, Brooklyn, and Scarborough,” the Minister said.
Dr. Phillips also informed the gathering of some of the key elements involved in the fight against crime locally. These include accelerating the reforms and modernization of the infrastructure of law enforcement, such as the legislative framework and judicial practices.
Also named as key areas of focus were increasing the number of personnel in the security forces, and providing for greater operational efficiency and effectiveness.
“The plan is to increase the number in the Police Force by about 1,000, which would bring us up to the approved establishment of 8,500. We also intend to bring the ratio of police to population more in line with our Caribbean neighbours,” he said.
In Jamaica, the current ratio was about 2.9 per 100,000 (police to population), the Minister disclosed. “This compares for example with 3.2 per 100,000 in Trinidad and Tobago, 4.6 in Guyana and 6.9 in the Bahamas,” he noted.
The Minister added that the Ministry would also engage in continued training to improve the skills of the Police.

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