Robert Mon­tague, min­is­ter of na­tional se­cu­rity

Jamaica Gleaner - - WESTERN FOCUS -

PRES­I­DENT OF the Mon­tego Bay Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (MBCCI), Glo­ria Henry, has added her voice to the many voices that are now speak­ing out against the re­cent spate of killing in Mon­tego Bay and the wider St. James.

Henry, who spoke at last Wed­nes­day night’s launch of the Ki­wa­nis Club of Prov­i­dence Mon­tego Bay’s Breast Can­cer Run/Walk 2016, ex­plained that the up­surge of crime is be­gin­ning to take its toll not just on cit­i­zens but busi­ness operators as well.

‘We are be­gin­ning to see where we can lose some busi­ness be­cause of crime in Mon­tego Bay,” said Henry, who is also the vice-pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions and cus­tomer re­la­tions at the Mon­tego Bay Free Zone.

At a re­cent Gleaner editor’s fo­rum in Mon­tego Bay, sev­eral prom­i­nent stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing busi­ness­man God­frey Dyer, who is a noted hote­lier and chair­man of the Tourism En­hance­ment Fund , said he was all for any mea­sures to rein in the law­less­ness, in­clud­ing a lim­ited state of emer­gency.

“Busi­ness can­not thrive in an en­vi­ron­ment of law­less­ness and Glo­ria Henry, pres­i­dent of the Mon­tego Bay Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try.

as things are to­day, we stand to lose a lot,” said Dyer, in ref­er­ence to the 15 mur­ders that were com­mit­ted in the week be­fore the editor’s fo­rum. “We must find a so­lu­tion to this prob­lem now ... even it means a state of emer­gency.”

For her part, Henry stated last week that both the tourism and the busi­ness process out­sourc­ing sec­tors — the two fastest growing in­dus­tries in the re­gion — are in jeop­ardy as crime and vi­o­lence was threat­en­ing their sur­vival while sig­nif­i­cantly tar­nish­ing Brand Ja­maica.

While she was not sup­port­ive of the call for a state of emer­gency, Henry used her ad­dress to urged the cit­i­zens of the tourist cap­i­tal to re­main hope­ful while the po­lice and law­mak­ers seek to bring an end to the law­less, which has robbed Mon­tego Bay of the proud tag, ‘The Friendly City’.

Ac­cord­ing to Henry, the MBCCI has made a rec­om­men­da­tion for the es­tab­lish­ment of a po­lice sta­tion in the heart of Mon­tego Bay. She also called for the po­lice to be pro­vided with the nec­es­sary re­sources to in­ves­ti­gate and iden­tify those who break the law and for a sta­ble com­mand struc­ture for at least three years.

“We need to keep com­mand­ing officers for at least three years min­i­mum so that they can build trust in the com­mu­ni­ties be­cause res­i­dents need to re­gain the trust of the po­lice,” said Henry in voic­ing her ob­jec­tion to the com­mon prac­tice of com­mand­ing officers be­ing trans­ferred as soon as they are set­tled in a di­vi­sion.

Following the re­cent in­jec­tion of ad­di­tional po­lice per­son­nel (po­lice/mil­i­tary) and crime­fight­ing as­sets, in­clud­ing ar­moured per­son­nel car­rier, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant reduction in mur­ders, al­beit the cur­rent count for the year stands at 209 — just three short of last year’s all-time record of 212.

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