Minister of National Security, Colonel Trevor Macmillan on Friday vowed to use the full force of the law to stop the bloodshed that is rocking the island. He described the crime rate as one of the worst in Jamaica’s history.
"Let me be very clear, that this Government will not hesitate to respond with the full force of the law to bring this situation under control and ensure that stability is restored to the entire country," Macmillan said in his first statement after being sworn in by the president of the Senate yesterday.
He said that in a few days he will be announcing his crime plan that will be used to crippled criminal forces that has put fear in the Jamaican people.
"Regardless of where you live, and to whom you are affiliated, we will be leaving no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators of violence to justice," he declared to the Senate.
He suggested that most of the killings stemmed from conflicts between some of over 125 criminal gangs which the police had suggested were still operating throughout the country, as well as from inter-gang reprisals.
Macmillan offered his personal condolences to the relatives and friends of all who had lost their lives in the murder toll. He said that the Government was fully aware of the need to address "deep social maladies" underlying the current crime problem as well. The Peace Management Initiative (PMI) had already been mobilized in several communities.
Macmillan noted that there was an accelerated deployment of security forces to such areas but pointed out that the security forces had been over-taxed for sometime now, and that the current upsurge in crime was stretching the limits of their ability to respond to the crisis.
"I want to personally thank each member (of the security forces) for continuing to go the extra mile, even as we call upon them to redouble their efforts at this time…Let me appeal to all Jamaicans to set aside their differences and come together to save the lives of our citizens who are being killed daily. The security forces are depending on all of us to play our part," he appealed.
He admitted that the country had been experiencing "one of the bloodiest periods of its history", noting that since the start of May, 181 persons have been murdered, an average of six per day.
"We are all shocked by the wanton disregard for human life and the brazen attacks upon even the most vulnerable in our society – our women and children," he said, pointing to recent killings in Allman Town in Central Kingston, as well as St James and Clarendon.
The minister’s note of urgency appeared aimed at appeasing a chorus of calls on the Government to get more proactive in the fight against crime, as the murder rate climbed towards yet another record – nearing 700 deaths since the start of the year.