Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang, is assuring the nation that the security forces are unwavering in their efforts to nab gang members and dismantle their activities.
Minister Chang was speaking to reporters at the Old Harbour Police Station in St. Catherine on January 24.
Dr. Chang, personnel from the Ministry, and senior officers from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were visiting the Bog Walk and Old Harbour police stations to view rehabilitation works at both facilities.
He said that the recent conviction of a major gang leader from the parish, another one set for trial in the courts, and a number of their members in custody, is a clear indication that their control and influence on communities are steadily being weakened.
“We have convicted four brutal killers, and you have 50 members of one of the major gangs taken to court. The police officers have taken in nearly 60 bad gangsters. They are doing the work, and they are not going to let up,” He said.
He said the dismantling of criminal gangs is at the top of the Government’s crime reduction strategy. Pointing out that gangsters are responsible for most of the murders on the island as well as other major criminal activities.
“We are going to increase the pressure on them, I can assure the country on that. It is a priority for the Government, which is why we are spending the resources on it. The first priority is to disrupt the gangs, and save lives,” he said.
Minister Chang further noted that the Government will be amending the Anti-Gang Act in a short while, to give the police “additional tools” to fight crime.
In the meantime, he said his ministry is working on creating alternatives to crime for vulnerable youth. “And, we are putting in efforts in the medium term to divert our young males, especially in our inner-city communities, to give them an alternative to gang life,” the Minister said.