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Members of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica's board outline the business lobby group's strategy for the 2020/22 administrative period at a press briefing on January 10, 2020. (Photo: Chris Lewinson)

J’can business lobby groups renew call for national consensus on crime

Members of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica's board outline the business lobby group's strategy for the 2020/22 administrative period at a press briefing on January 10, 2020. (Photo: Chris Lewinson)

While highlighting the impact of crime on Jamaica, especially the juvenile demographic, business lobby groups the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) renewed its calls to the Government for a national consensus on crime.

“Jamaica has lost too many bright young minds, who had the potential to make significant contributions to the nation. Sadly, we will never know what these children could have been because, while at the forefront the country has been battling COVID-19, crime continues to rear its ugly head,” the organisations stated in a joint press.

From left: Andre Gooden, chairman of the Jamaica Conference Board; Don Anderson, managing director, Market Research Services Limited; and Jamaica Stock Exchange Managing Director Marlene Street Forrest pause for a photo at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s release of 2019 4th Quarter Business and Consumer Confidence Indices at the Spanish Court Hotel’s Worthington in New Kingston, Jamaica, on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. (Photo: Norman Thomas)

As Jamaica celebrates May as National Child Month, the organisations said they note “with grave sadness” recent reports of murder of children in the country, even since the beginning of the month.

While expressing sympathy to families who have lost children to crime and violence, the organisations said the reports of such atrocities are “profoundly disheartening “.

“The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) are strongly reiterating the call for a change of approach in dealing with crime and violence. The singular approach and focus to mitigating the impact of COVID-19, underpinned by citizenry and political directorate support, should be equally channelled and replicated in tackling crime and violence,” the joint statement outlined.

“It is this level of response and coordination that must be used in our approach to reduce crime and violence. There must be a national consensus whereby, the Government and the Opposition can come together on the issue and lead in a collaborative and organised manner.”

— Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association

Further, the organisations reason that the nation’s collective response to the COVID-19 crisis is evidence that it can unite to resolve the challenges of crime and violence.

“It is this level of response and coordination that must be used in our approach to reduce crime and violence. There must be a national consensus whereby, the Government and the Opposition can come together on the issue and lead in a collaborative and organised manner,” the PSOJ, JCC and JMEA argued.

Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Richard Pandohie (left — then vice-president) converses with Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness during the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Jamaica in 2018. (Photo: Twitter @AndrewHolnessJM)

They acknowledged, too, that the average citizen also has a role to play by speaking up and against the perpetrators, noting that crime affects everyone, no matter their social status.

“Success in reducing its prevalence will only occur if all Jamaicans, at every level, commit to working together and supporting a coordinated strategy. Let us maximise this opportunity to move from talk to credible action and unite against crime as we are doing against COVID-19,” the press release ended.