PSOJ Urges Re-engagement in United Crime Strategy, Emphasises Long-Term Solutions Beyond State of Emergency Measures

Kingston, Jamaica – November 9 2023 – The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) supports the Government’s recent proclamation of a State of Public Emergency (SOE) for St. James. This decision is a critical response to the escalating gang violence that has plagued the parish, evidenced most tragically by the senseless killing of two young students and a man on November 6.

The PSOJ vehemently condemns the spike in violent crimes within St. James, mainly when such acts result in civilian casualties. The abhorrent reprisal attacks that have cost innocent lives cannot be overlooked and demand an immediate and decisive response.

While we recognise the SOE as an immediate measure to curb the current tide of violence, it should be seen as a temporary solution, not a permanent fix. The PSOJ insists on the need for a comprehensive and sustainable crime-fighting strategy.

Endorsing the recommendation by the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commissioner of Police, the PSOJ asserts that although the SOE is not a long-term solution, it is necessary to reduce the surge of violent crime, including murders.

However, the PSOJ urges the Government to reengage with the Crime Monitoring Oversight Committee (CMOC), alongside the Opposition, private sector, and civil society, to finalise the revised Memorandum of Understanding for the National Consensus on Crime. We stress the urgency of including a holistic approach encompassing education, social transformation, and reform of law enforcement, justice, and penal systems.

The revised MoU will, among other critical elements, detail the Enhanced Security Measures (ESM), empowering law enforcement with the legal provisions to act decisively against known offenders and strengthen the criminal justice system’s response.

The PSOJ recommends a collaborative effort between the Government and the Opposition to expedite the drafting and legislative passage of the ESM. It is a matter of great urgency to address the nation’s critical condition.

As Jamaica faces these challenging times, the PSOJ calls on the Prime Minister to lead with and inclusivity, expecting a cooperative response from the Opposition. The PSOJ advocates for a non-political, unified strategy in combatting crime. Our citizens deserve to live without fear and to raise their families in a secure environment. This commitment to a safer Jamaica must be shared across all sectors of society.

It is our collective responsibility to address the symptoms of crime, and we urge all citizens to assist in the fight against crime by reviving our core values and attitudes and denouncing behaviours and actions which do not serve us as a country and the quality of life we wish for all our citizens. The PSOJ has always encouraged persons to exercise their civic duty and responsibility by participating in initiatives for the deterrence, prevention and reporting of crimes, such as its longstanding Crime Stop programme an organisation with a proven record of confidentiality and effectiveness.

The PSOJ remains committed to working towards a safer, more peaceful Jamaica.

– END –