The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) recently received a progress update and provided inputs to the working group developing the national consensus on crime.

This working group, chaired by JCC President Lloyd Distant, was formed at the behest of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition as an outcome of the bi-partisan and civil society Summit held in October 2019.

As part of the update, the groups acknowledge and support the principles that have been documented to underpin the programmes, initiatives and approaches of the consensus, the grouping also acknowledges that there remain points on which national consensus needs to be attained and urges the committee to have these resolved as a matter of utmost priority. We anticipate a February 2020 timeline for the conclusion of this exercise.

As 2019 closes with over 1300 families across Jamaica mourning the loss of their loved ones to violent crime, we once again remind the political directorate that dealing with the issues related to the safety and right to life of our citizenry is non-negotiable. In this regard, we must also place on record our disappointment that the commitment made by both parties in October to publicly repudiate any connection between their respective parties and criminal gangs has not yet been done.

We ask every Jamaican to join us in holding Government and Opposition accountable and demand the removal of partisan agendas on this topic.

The tireless efforts of the national security forces to reduce crime has not gone unnoticed and we thank them and support their efforts to cope with this national crisis.

We recognize that it will take a focused effort on the part of the security forces, ministries, relevant departments, social intervention agencies and every single law-abiding citizen to have a sustained impact on this crime epidemic.

The start of the new year would be an opportune time to make a bi-partisan commitment, to reinforce that there is the will to make Jamaica a place of choice to live, work, do business and raise our families.