Crime and corruption stunting growth and development in Jamaica

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday January 25, 2013 – National Security Minister Peter Bunting says that in spite of achievements made last year, crime and corruption remain the main obstacles to rapid growth and development in Jamaica. 

Speaking at the launch of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation’s (JEF) 31st annual business and workplace convention and expo, Bunting said increased investment in the fight against crime and violence would augur well for the country’s economy.

“The truth of the matter is… investment in national security is an investment in Jamaica’s economic growth and development,” he said, noting that a number of studies conducted by the World Bank and various other multilateral organizations show that crime continues to be Jamaica’s biggest problem.

Bunting made reference to a recent study conducted by University of the West Indies (UWI) which showed that for the last four decades if Jamaica had a normal crime rate, the country’s economy would be between three and 10 times the size it is now, in terms of gross development product (GDP).

“And that doesn’t even take into account the pain and suffering and grief and misery that this has caused.”

Bunting said the country is currently ranked 97 on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) competitiveness index, slipping 30 places in the last five years.

“This has an impact on investor confidence and I don’t need to tell you about the impact it has on the cost of doing business in Jamaica and more generally, just eroding the quality of life,” he said, reiterating plans to further reduce all crimes by double digits for 2013.

Jamaica recorded a seven per cent reduction in murders, shootings and other serious crimes in 2012, to register the lowest number of offences the country has seen in the last nine years and Bunting said that among the measures to be implementing over the next five years would be an increase in the number of “boots on the ground”.

He said that the Ministry of National Security is looking to recruit an additional 5,000 soldiers and police officers to further boost the crime fighting capacity of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

He also said the security forces would need an additional 500 vehicles, every year, for the next four years to improve their mobility.

Meanwhile, the JCF’s capacity to effectively investigate property theft using synthetic Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology has been boosted with the donation of equipment valued at approximately one million dollars (One Jamaica dollar = US$0.01 cents) by telecommunications firm, DIGICEL.

Police Commissioner Owen Ellington received the 50 kits during the launch of the DNA Forensic Property Marking System in Jamaica on Tuesday.

The establishment of the system is being facilitated in Jamaica by local firm, Shields Crime and Security Consultants, headed by former Deputy Police Commissioner, Mark Shields.

Bunting, in welcoming the technology, described it as a “safe and positive initiative”, while highlighting the benefits of technology to the JCF.

“What the public may not appreciate is how much the JCF is evolving in terms of its own use of technology in solving crime and in being able to track down the perpetrators of crime. I can say that as we invest in law enforcement, going forward, and we invest in national security, an area that we are focusing on is developing the technological capabilities of the police and our security forces, more broadly…ultimately, in assisting us in getting convictions,” Bunting said.(CMC) KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday January 25, 2013 – National Security Minister Peter Bunting says that in spite of achievements made last year, crime and corruption remain the main obstacles to rapid growth and development in Jamaica. 

Speaking at the launch of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation’s (JEF) 31st annual business and workplace convention and expo, Bunting said increased investment in the fight against crime and violence would augur well for the country’s economy.

“The truth of the matter is… investment in national security is an investment in Jamaica’s economic growth and development,” he said, noting that a number of studies conducted by the World Bank and various other multilateral organizations show that crime continues to be Jamaica’s biggest problem.

Bunting made reference to a recent study conducted by University of the West Indies (UWI) which showed that for the last four decades if Jamaica had a normal crime rate, the country’s economy would be between three and 10 times the size it is now, in terms of gross development product (GDP).

“And that doesn’t even take into account the pain and suffering and grief and misery that this has caused.”

Bunting said the country is currently ranked 97 on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) competitiveness index, slipping 30 places in the last five years.

“This has an impact on investor confidence and I don’t need to tell you about the impact it has on the cost of doing business in Jamaica and more generally, just eroding the quality of life,” he said, reiterating plans to further reduce all crimes by double digits for 2013.

Jamaica recorded a seven per cent reduction in murders, shootings and other serious crimes in 2012, to register the lowest number of offences the country has seen in the last nine years and Bunting said that among the measures to be implementing over the next five years would be an increase in the number of “boots on the ground”.

He said that the Ministry of National Security is looking to recruit an additional 5,000 soldiers and police officers to further boost the crime fighting capacity of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

He also said the security forces would need an additional 500 vehicles, every year, for the next four years to improve their mobility.

Meanwhile, the JCF’s capacity to effectively investigate property theft using synthetic Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology has been boosted with the donation of equipment valued at approximately one million dollars (One Jamaica dollar = US$0.01 cents) by telecommunications firm, DIGICEL.

Police Commissioner Owen Ellington received the 50 kits during the launch of the DNA Forensic Property Marking System in Jamaica on Tuesday.

The establishment of the system is being facilitated in Jamaica by local firm, Shields Crime and Security Consultants, headed by former Deputy Police Commissioner, Mark Shields.

Bunting, in welcoming the technology, described it as a “safe and positive initiative”, while highlighting the benefits of technology to the JCF.

“What the public may not appreciate is how much the JCF is evolving in terms of its own use of technology in solving crime and in being able to track down the perpetrators of crime. I can say that as we invest in law enforcement, going forward, and we invest in national security, an area that we are focusing on is developing the technological capabilities of the police and our security forces, more broadly…ultimately, in assisting us in getting convictions,” Bunting said.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)