SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth – Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang is framing Jamaica’s crime problem in the context of soaring violence globally influenced by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a challenge with crime, but violence throughout the globe is increasing in the post-COVID-19 era. Some inner-city areas in the United States are having the same level of violence we are having in Jamaica, other Caribbean islands, coming out of the two years of lockdown. We [are] holding steady and focused as a country all because of the effective leadership of your Government led by Andrew Michael Holness,” Chang told the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) St Elizabeth parish conference at the St Elizabeth Technical High School in Santa Cruz on Sunday.
Dr Chang, who is also the JLP’s general secretary, said the Holness-led Administration is among the best in today’s democracy.
“We have problems. We are not claiming to be perfect in any way, but we will tell you we are the best. I am not telling you we are perfect. We are not perfect. We are human and we can make mistakes too, but we are the best available and not only the best in Jamaica, but among the best around today in democracy,” he said.
Dr Chang said the Government has set its target to ensure it remains in power.
“We [are] going to deal with crime, but crime is not only the product of being unemployed and a lot losing hope. We have to train our people to give them opportunities. Jamaicans want opportunities,” he said.
“… We have set the target. Come November 20 this prime minister will indicate to you the way forward and we can go out there with confidence and mobilise as a country to ensure that the Jamaica Labour Party will stay in Government to take this country on a permanent path of growth and improved quality of life for all our people,” he said.
Dr Chang said that fighting crime is difficult and requires strong policing.
“The crime is giving us a hard time, I accept that, but the two legs that we fight it on, we have to have good Government and we have to ensure we provide opportunity for our people to ensure that the young people have an opportunity to develop productive lives, but crime today and violence requires strong policing,” he said.
He said the Government will not interfere operationally with the police.
“We [are] not using the police force as a political team, you and I know that; we in politics long time. We know how it go, it used to be minister of national security almost a run the election for some party one time. Police was used as a tool of politics,” he said.
“You cannot get security that way. You cannot get peace that way. You cannot get peace without fear in law enforcement. You cannot get peace without justice. Opportunity for young people yes, but we cannot treat security as a partisan political matter,” he added.
He said the country has been faced with crime problems for the past two decades.
“This Government took a position to invest in the security forces and to build a system that will guarantee future good order in the country, but it is going to take time. It is 20 years we have been having the kind of crime we [are] talking about today in Jamaica,” he said.