It is unacceptable that halfway through the fiscal year and when Jamaica is gripped by a wave of murders and shootings, the Ministry of National Security has not commenced the process of procuring vehicles for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), despite having an approved budget of $400 million for this purpose. The Opposition is therefore demanding immediate action from Minister Montague to purchase vehicles for the police in keeping with the existing fleet management and procurement policy.
Over the past 24 hours there have been reports of at least eight murders, including a double murder in Clarendon and a triple murder in St. Mary. In the month of August, 114 murders were recorded and if urgent measures are not put in place this number could be exceeded in the current month.
Vehicles are a force multiplier for the JCF. When the JCF has limited operational mobility, violent criminals are able to roam freely with little fear of being intercepted by patrols or vehicular checkpoints. It is unfair for Minister Montague to unnecessarily deprive the JCF of critical resources while the Prime Minister threatens to hold the Commissioner of Police accountable for the high rate of murders.
Instead of focusing on providing priority policy support to the JCF, the Minister has spent his time attending to far less important issues such as: musing whether the Government should purchase used vehicles; dismissing top performing managers such as the former CEO of PICA; and advising policemen on condom use. When the nation’s safety and security is under relentless attack, it cannot afford this lethargic and misguided approach to running a critical ministry such as the Ministry of National Security.