The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to break his silence and address the current spike in crime which has been affecting the island.
In a press release sent out on Sunday (January 31), the Opposition said it was extremely disappointed at the Prime Minister’s silence in the midst of the crime wave roiling the country for the last two weeks.
The Opposition highlighted the brutal murder of Andrea Lowe-Garwood, who was gunned down while attending a church service, in addition to the 113 individuals murdered since the start of the year.
According to the Opposition, Prime Minister Holness needed to state what lawful measures are to be taken to address the current crime wave so that citizens can be reassured of some modicum of safety, with the party not missing the opportunity to take a jab at the PM’s 2016 election promise to have Jamaicans sleep with their doors and windows open.
“The Prime Minister came to office on a promise to fix the crime problem and must therefore be held to account for the non-performance of his administration in this area,” said Peter Bunting, Shadow Minister of National Security.
Bunting said that despite the recent spate of violent crimes, January 2021 represents the same average number of murders as the typical month during the previous two years with States of Emergency (SOE) in place.
“This telling statistic, combined with the fact that Jamaica now has the highest homicide rate in the entire Latin America and the Caribbean region, provides evidence that the serial and routine use of SOEs as a crime fighting measure has been a failure – in addition to being unconstitutional,” he added.
While the PM, who is usually active on social media platforms, has been eerily silent on the events of the past 24 hours, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange has publicly denounced the violence, making mention of the slaying of 52-year-old Lowe-Garwood.
“The horrific circumstances of the killing of the woman in her church should serve as a wake up call for all Jamaicans. The entire country must now get involved in efforts to end crime and violence as it requires all of us to end the violence; and it will take all of us to defend Jamaica against the criminals,” said Grange.
Minister Grange further used the occasion to encourage anyone with information about the murder to make contact with the police.