“Economic Decline and Increase in Crime Defines PNP Government” - Holness
Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Andrew Holness last night described Minister Bunting as the most callous government minister, for his characterization of the current increase in murders as a “bump in the road”. Holness told the packed meeting at the Somerset Primary School, in the Johns Hall Division of North West Manchester that, “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!”
The Opposition Leader said that whenever the People’s National Party is in power, murder rises. He pointed to the murder statistics from 1971 to the present. He explained:
“In 1972 there were 170 murders at the end of JLP term. When the PNP handed back the country to the JLP in 1980 the murder rate stood at 899, a 429% increase between 1972 and 1980. When the government change hands in 1989, the JLP had brought down the murder rate to 439, or a 51% decrease, between 1980 and 1989. The PNP governed after that for 18 ½ years to 2007 when murders reached 1,574, or an increase of 258% 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%. The murder rate to date stands 601, or 19% ahead of where it was last year this time.”
Mr. Holness said he was very concerned that if this trend continues, then murders could pass the 1,200 mark by year end. He went further to tell 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. He stated, “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”.
The meeting marked the ninth in a series of fifteen conferences dubbed the JLP Manchester invasion, spearheaded by MP 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 3, Michael Stern, Caretakers Ivan McKulsky (South Manchester), Omar Frith (North West Manchester) and Councilor Caretaker for the Johns Hall Division, Bodel Daverinson Clarke, who hosted the meeting.