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John Mahfood | That top-secret crime plan

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The Gleaner of May 4, 2018, reported the prime minister as saying that his administration had gone past planning and was now at the stage of implementation, and he would not be disclosing a detailed crime plan to the organised criminals. He also said that he had already outlined a national security plan and that Bobby Montague had highlighted the five-pillar crime strategy.

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I have read both of these documents and neither constitutes a crime plan. At best, they can be described as an overall strategy that would guide the development of a plan

The five-pillar crime strategy provides a sort of general overview of the background to crime in Jamaica, as well as provides a sort of unified approach of the various stakeholders to the problem

It is not detailed and not time-bound

When questioned about this, Mr Montague said that such a detailed plan is a job for the police force and not the Government

The Jamaica Manufacturers’ and Exporters Association and that Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica have been calling on the PM to prepare a detailed plan and to set up the mechanism for tracking and reporting on its implementation. So far, the Government has been putting them off without a good explanation

The fact is that a detailed plan does not have to convey anything regarded top secret to the bad guys! It is intended to communicate to the general public, as well as the diaspora and overseas investors, that the Government and police know what to do, have a time frame in which to do it, and have the resources to perform it. This will boost public confidence

As it is now, there is no plan, and it appears to us all that it is pure trial and error at work. Even with the ZOSOs and states of emergency, crime is up five per cent year on year, and the police force appears to be stretched to its limits

So what’s next? Another change in minister of national security and commissioner of police?

A few weeks ago, I met an individual from the US who was searching for local investors for a wholly export-oriented factory to be set up in Jamaica. The investment involved was fairly significant, and he told me that he could not raise the money in the US because investors there saw Jamaica as too big a risk. That is another lost opportunity for employment and increased economic activity

What about the hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans living abroad and who have reached retirement age but won’t return to Jamaica for fear of crime? Think of the significant impact on our economy if they spent their retirement money here instead of in Spain, or Florida, or Britain?

As the old saying goes, Rome is burning and our prime minister is twiddling his thumbs!

– John Mahfood is managing director of Jamaica Teas. Email feedback to [email protected] and [email protected]

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Con información de: Jamaica Gleaner