Tuesday 7 July, 2020

‘Jamaica has gone mad’, says JMEA of national response to crime

The Jamaica Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) has charged that the Government and past administrations have failed to manage the country’s longstanding crime problem, and in the process, failed to secure the lives of Jamaicans.

The influential lobby organisation, in a stinging statement on Wednesday, urged the Government to “flatten the curve on the country’s crime problem” in much the same way it has flattened the curve on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The JMEA warned that “Continued failure to act will be to our demise, for tourism, manufacturing, export, the hustler and the man in the street. We all have a stake in rebuilding the society to a state of civility, where we can all live and conduct business safely. We need to get COVID-19-serious about crime.”

The group said Jamaicans should stand together regardless of political affiliation “And demand from your Member of Parliament (MP), the leader of Opposition, and the prime minister to treat crime and corruption as a national pandemic to be solved by national consensus…NOW.”

The association said in the handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the Government has signalled to the entire country that the lives of Jamaicans in general matter, and should be safeguarded at all cost.

“The response to COVID-19, the invisible killer, has resulted in many lives being spared in Jamaica, as our death toll has remained in the single digits,” said the JMEA. That circumstance changed the same day with the death of a 10th victim of the virus locally.

The JMEA also noted that Jamaica has recorded some 550 murders up to May 31, three fewer than for the corresponding period in 2019.

So why is it that we fail to stop killings by those who we can see, touch, and know?” the JMEA asked. According to the association, it has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.

“By this definition, we can therefore only conclude that Jamaica has gone mad. Our Government and past administrations have failed miserably in securing our right to life. As a people, we have lost the passion of our founding fathers to demand that our children, women and most vulnerable in society are protected by the state. And as a private sector, we continue to issue calls for a national consensus on crime and finalisation of commitments from the crime summit that go unanswered,” said the JMEA.

The association also said as a country, Jamaica cannot continue to lose over 1,000 of its citizens each year.

“To our leaders and fellow Jamaicans, we have been facing this pandemic for far too long. To have our lives spared by COVID-19, knowing that there is a higher probability that we will fall victim to a violent crime, not just by criminals, but also those who are there to protect us, is lunacy,” the JMEA added.

It said that Jamaicans should not wait on the world to indicate to the country that crime, corruption and socio-economic degradation are serious national threats before the country acts swiftly and decisively to correct the problems.

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