Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Leader Andrew Holness has described as callous security minister Peter Bunting’s characterisation of the current increase in murders as a ‘bump in the road,‘ Hype Life Magazine has learned.
“While your brothers and sisters are being killed in the most brutal way, the minister is being very casual about it, calling the increased murders a bump in the road,” Holness told a meeting at the Somerset Primary School, in the Johns Hall Division of North West Manchester on Sunday night.
According to the Opposition Leader, whenever the People’s National Party (PNP) is in power, murder rises.
“In 1972 there were 170 murders at the end of the JLP term. When the PNP handed back the country to the JLP in 1980 the murder rate stood at 899, a 429 per cent increase between 1972 and 1980. When the government changed hands in 1989, the JLP had brought down the murder rate to 439, or a 51 per cent decrease, between 1980 and 1989,” Holness argued.
The PNP, he said, governed after that for 18 years to 2007 when murders reached 1,574, or an increase of 258 per cent over the 1989 figure.
“This made Jamaica one of the most murderous countries in the world. The JLP administration of 2007 to 2011 brought down murders to 1,125 or a decrease of 28 per cent. The murder rate to date stands 601, or 19 per cent ahead of where it was last year this time,” he said.
Holness said he was very concerned that if this trend continues, murders could pass the 1,200 mark by year end. He further informed the audience that murders were rising because whenever the PNP is in power, the economy declines, noting that several studies have shown that there is a direct inverse and reinforcing relationship between crime and economic growth.
“Low economic growth means high unemployment, particularly among youth. This drives them to gangs which in turn drives an increase in crimes, especially murders, and further reduces economic growth in a vicious cycle,” he said.
The meeting marked the ninth in a series of 15 conferences dubbed the
JLP Manchester Invasion, spearheaded by Caretaker for Central Manchester, Dr St Aubyn Bartlett, and featured other headline speakers such as Member of Parliament for North East Manchester, Audley Shaw, Deputy Chairman of Area Council Three, Michael Stern, Caretakers Ivan McKulsky (South Manchester), Omar Frith (North West Manchester) and Councillor Caretaker for the Johns Hall Division, Bodel Daverinson Clarke, who hosted the meeting.