Saturday 28 November, 2020

JLP, PNP to meet with stakeholders on Monday to chart crime consensus

Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips (left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness at a national ceremony. (File photo)

Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips (left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness at a national ceremony. (File photo)

Jamaica's two main political parties are to join leaders of a wide cross-section of the Jamaican society in a one-day summit at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Monday, to finalise an agreement on the national consensus on crime.

The summit, which is scheduled to start at 10 am, is to have both the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) assisting in crafting a method to contain the island's longstanding challenges with crime and violence.

The discussions are to include leaders of the various umbrella business groups drawn from the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Jamaica Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ).

It is to also have the inputs of churches, trade unions, academia, women's groups and tertiary and secondary youth leaders.

The summit will target three main objectives, namely: Affirm the principles that underpin the national consensus on crime; formally ratify the agreements, initiative and timelines of the imperatives for the national consensus on crime; certify the terms of reference for the Consensus 2020 - Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee.

According to President of the JCC, Lloyd Distant, who has led the process of bringing the political parties together for the summit, the national consensus on crime is at an advanced stage, despite the many challenges.

He said the hope is that the agreement will be signed at the end of the day, which should end years of discussions.

"Every time we have come to the table, it has not happened. This is the furthest that we have come, and it is long overdue. Some persons have been there for 30-40 years, and they have not been able to get everybody to agree.

"Certainly in the past 10-15 years there have been a lot of calls for this to happen, and in the last two years, (we) have been trying consistently, and at this summit we anticipate signing off and thereafter, taking the long road of transforming the situation of crime in Jamaica," Distant said in a telephone interview.

President of the JMEA, Richard Pandohie, speaking at the annual general meeting on Thursday at the body's office, said: "this is a major step and something that we should celebrate and make it happen."

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