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PM Urges G8 To Treat Crime As A Development Issue

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Prime Minister Bruce Golding has appealed to G8 countries for greater assistance to countries like Jamaica in the fight against organized crime.

This assistance, he said, must be broad-based and must recognize that rooting out crime is not just a law enforcement exercise but must be seen as a major development issue. The Prime Minister was speaking in Muskoka, Canada at a special outreach session of the G8 Summit yesterday (Friday June 25).

Mr. Golding called attention to the penetrative and corrosive effect of crime in struggling developing countries with weak institutional capacity and a scarcity of resources. He outlined the measures being carried out by his government in its renewed campaign to combat crime and declared that it was determined to use every tool it its toolbox in an all-out effort that must be sustained until the job is completed. Mr Golding pointed out, however, that countries like Jamaica cannot do it alone, given their lack of resources and the transnational nature of organized crime.

While acknowledging the assistance being provided by the US, UK, Canada and EU, he said that a more comprehensive strategy must be developed as a matter of urgency. This must include greater effort to disrupt the flow of drugs with equal emphasis being placed on both the supply and demand side of the drug trade. He called for more effective measures to stem the flow of illegal guns

which were not only the symbol and tool of organized crime but filtered into the hands of itinerant criminals. He also called for more technical assistance in criminal investigation, intelligence management and law enforcement techniques.

Mr. Golding cautioned that crime does not exist in a vacuum but thrives in an environment where poverty is prevalent and hope and opportunity depressed. Countries like Jamaica, he said, which have been battered by the global recession have had to contain expenditure on critical social programmes and find themselves fighting crime at a time when the material conditions are more favourable for crime to flourish.

The Prime Minister welcomed the additional resources provided by G20 countries through the IMF and other multilateral agencies but pointed out that the conditions for accessing these funds require deflationary fiscal and monetary policies that left beneficiary countries with no room to effectively address the development dimension of the fight against crime. He urged the international community to help countries like Jamaica to find more creative ways to deal with these challenges even while undertaking the adjustments necessary to put their economies in good health.

“When we go into communities and dismantle the criminal organizations that are embedded there, we leave a huge space which, if not quickly filled by meaningful programmes that empower people, provide training and jobs, create opportunities and offer hope, will shortly thereafter be filled by a new, smarter generation of criminals. The kind of social intervention that is needed requires resources that we don’t have. We need your help…..lots of help”, Mr. Golding declared. 

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