Jamaica will end 2023 at close to 1400 murders if the current rate of homicides continues according to Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Peter Bunting.
The former Minister of National Security made the prediction on Wednesday during a People’s National Party (PNP) press conference at the party’s Old Hope Road headquarters in St Andrew.
“This is 250 murders above the average level in the previous PNP administration (2012-2016),” Bunting said.
He asserted that things being done by the Government, including the routine use of states of emergency (SOEs), and the controversial decision to increase the age at which the Director of Public Prosecutions should retire from 60-65, are designed to distract Jamaicans from the real crime figures.
“A lot of what we see here now is really attempts to divert the attention of the citizens from the failed performance of this administration in dealing with key issues, important issues to the people of Jamaica, such as their safety and security,” Bunting said.
He pointed to the murder rates across several parishes which show that “nationally, we’re going at a rate of about 50 murders per 100,000 population, which puts us at the top of the global rankings ….where we continue to be among the highest in the hemisphere and in the world”.
Bunting said that up to July 22, St James was going at a rate of 109 murders per 100,000; Hanover had recorded 98 per 100,000; Westmoreland was at 86; and Kingston and St Andrew 60. He pointed out that these parishes were significantly above the already high national rate.
“There’s a crisis in terms of safety and security and there’s a crisis in terms of normal, professional policing. The government has used the serial and routine use of states of emergency as an attempt to PR crime fighting, as an attempt to convince the population that they’re doing something because the normal constitutionally available means have failed,” Bunting declared.
He said Jamaicans must now see through the failures “and demand accountability and performance from an administration that is spending the most in history on national security”.
Additionally, Bunting said “We would love to see a performance audit of capital expenditures of the Ministry of National Security. I can tell you that it would make the National Works Agency’s (cost) overruns of $10 billion pale in comparison to the money that’s being wasted at the ministry of national security”.