The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) is seeking to build national consensus on the Government’s strategy to significantly reduce crime.
Crime is one of the priority areas of focus outlined in the PSOJ’s 2020-2022 Strategy, which was presented at a recent press briefing at the organisation’s offices in Kingston.
PSOJ President, Keith Duncan, noted that a special private-sector working group “is working assiduously with a team, inclusive of the Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr Horace Chang; and the Opposition Spokesperson on National Security, Fitz Jackson, along with members of academia to really work through and gain some consensus around Jamaica’s crime efforts and strategy going forward.”
The working group, chaired by Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President, Lloyd Distant Jr. was formally established at a multi-stakeholder summit held in October 2019.
Mr Duncan said that a key part of the thrust in securing consensus is ensuring that there is an oversight body in place that would operate in a similar manner as the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) to monitor and report to the nation on the progress being made.
“It is important that we are comfortable with how Jamaica is moving forward with dealing with this disease of crime.”— Keith Duncan, President, PSOJ
He said that February is being targeted to provide an update on the progress of talks regarding the oversight body.
Mr Duncan said that the PSOJ is pleased with the steps being taken by the Government to address crime, citing $21 billion allocated over the last fiscal year for infrastructure, technology, building investigative capacity and forensic capacity, among other inputs.
He noted, however, that “it is important that we are comfortable with how Jamaica is moving forward with dealing with this disease of crime”, hence the need for national consensus.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the PSOJ’s Standing Committee on National Security and Justice, Lieutenant Commander George Overton, told journalists that the working group continues to consult with the Government and the various stakeholder groups.
He said the PSOJ “doesn’t think we are far-off from national consensus”, adding that “I believe the argument is how much of the Government’s strategy are they willing to put on the table”.
“There are sensitive national security issues versus basic public security issues,” he noted.
“It’s just to flesh out those things, identify them, put the milestones and timelines in place, make it public and get everybody to buy [into the fact] that public safety and security is the business of all of us… not just the Government and the police,” he added.
The PSOJ 2020-2022 Strategy is also focused on human capital development, ease of doing business, increasing direct investments, corruption, and environmental sustainability.