Crime threatening to drive Jamaicans away from island - Fitz Jackson
The level of fear that is being generated by the ongoing violence across the country, in particular murders and shootings, has Jamaicans questioning whether it is worth continuing to live in Jamaica.
That is the position stated by the Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson.
The Shadow Minister for National Security made the comments on Tuesday as the House of Representatives debated and approved resolutions for the extension by one month, of three separate states of emergency (SOEs).
Jackson pointed to the fact that up to December 7, there were 27 more murders committed in 2019 than for the corresponding period in 2018. He also pointed out that there were 80 more shootings in 2019 when compared to the similar period last year, as well as an increase in the number of robberies and break-ins. Jackson said this was particularly alarming given the fact that there have been ongoing states of emergency (SOEs) over the past two years.
"The verdict is in, the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) numbers tell us (that) as of Saturday, the 7th of December, 2019. Jamaica is far less safe than it was last year. As at that date, 1,249 Jamaicans were murdered, 27 more than it was last year. (This) is not my opinion, (it’s) the official data from the police,” Jackson said.
The Opposition spokesman also noted that over the same period, 1,183 Jamaicans were shot, 80 more than for the corresponding period in 2018. Jackson argued that this was after two years of SOEs during which “the rights and freedoms of most Jamaicans have been suspended”.
And Jackson also noted that there were 92 more robberies and 24 more break-ins during the period.
“The level of murders and shootings drive a level of fear in the ordinary Jamaican that they question whether or not this place is worth remaining in,” Jackson stated.
He added that “They question in their own minds, is this somewhere that I should work hard (and) make sacrifices? What do I benefit from when I live in daily fear?”
According to Jackson, “The robberies and the break-ins is a result of the level of lawlessness in the country that criminals feel they can do what they wish to do with impunity, they can enter into people’s private spaces, compromise the privacy of their homes; persons not feeling comfortable to walk the streets to do shopping, to go to the theatre, to go wherever they want to enjoy themselves from the sacrifices that they have made in their daily toiling in their place of employment”.
He continued that “the quality of their lives is being squeezed to nothing with these intrusions by criminal activities”.
The shadow minister for national security asserted that the current state of affairs is a “failure of a government to give a sense of safety to the people of this country.
“That’s the reality and the result of the measures that the government has decided to pursue over the past four years. We cannot continue like this,” he said.