Mon­tague: We are reap­ing the whirl­wind

Se­cu­rity min­is­ter cites so­cial de­cay as he out­lines re­sponse to St James vi­o­lence

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Jo­van John­son Staff Reporter jo­van.john­son@glean­

NA­TIONAL SE­CU­RITY Min­is­ter Robert Mon­tague de­clared in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day that the deadly vi­o­lence rav­aging St James has been reaped from the so­cial de­cay in the is­land and it is now time for every­one to ad­mit their wrongs.

“We are reap­ing the whirl­wind of the seeds of frac­tured fam­ily struc­tures, poor par­ent­ing, or lack thereof, in homes, poor ed­u­ca­tional out­comes, neg­a­tive so­cial­i­sa­tion, and the peer as­so­ci­a­tions that en­cour­age delin­quency,” Mon­tague said.

He told the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives that those fail­ings have led Ja­maicans to join gangs, re­sult­ing in sit­u­a­tions “that now man­i­fest as a heart­less scam­mer or teenage gun­man with mur­der­ous in­tent”.

Mon­tague made the com­ments as he ad­dressed the crime sit­u­a­tion grip­ping the Sec­ond City and re­vealed short- and medium-term mea­sures be­ing pur­sued by the se­cu­rity forces and the Gov­ern­ment.

He said that in the past 14 days, crim­i­nal gangs shot and killed 23 per­sons while in­jur­ing 13.

But he said that the two main per­pe­tra­tors are among 98 peo­ple in cus­tody over the vi­o­lence. Thirty-seven have been charged. In con­demn­ing the “bar­baric mur­ders”, Mon­tague said he recog­nised that “many of you feel help­less, hope­less, and pow­er­less”. He said res­i­dents should not lose hope but cau­tioned against panic and knee-jerk re­ac­tions. For the time be­ing, the na­tional se­cu­rity min­is­ter said a joint po­lice-mil­i­tary op­er­at­ing cen­tre has been established in Mon­tego Bay that will over­see an in­crease in in­tel­li­gence as­sets, per­son­nel, and mo­tor ve­hi­cles. In ad­di­tion, he said a re­designed and ex­panded closedcir­cuit tele­vi­sion net­work is ready for in­stal­la­tion in the parish.

Over the medium term, the Gov­ern­ment will, among other things, es­tab­lish 20 mo­bile po­lice sta­tions.


Dis­cus­sions, Mon­tague said, are be­ing had with the hous­ing min­istry to up­grade squat­ter set­tle­ments. Forty dogs are be­ing se­cured from Cuba for drug and gun de­tec­tion and search and res­cue. On the leg­isla­tive end, there were few specifics on po­ten­tial ma­jor re­forms, for ex­am­ple, amend­ing the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act, which Mon­tague said was be­ing done to “take the profit out of crime”. The Op­po­si­tion seemed in sup­port of the mea­sures, al­though spokesman on se­cu­rity Peter Bunt­ing raised ques­tions about the re­ac­ti­va­tion of a tac­ti­cal unit that last did du­ties in the May 2010 po­lice-mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion. “Crime tran­scends pol­i­tics, re­li­gion, and class. Let us re­solve to draw a line in the sand,” Mon­tague ar­gued, adding that Ja­maicans have an in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to do bet­ter. “We have all been weighed and found want­ing.” Mon­tague did not pro­vide a cost to the Mon­tego Bay re­sponse.


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