Prime Minister Andrew Holness is calling for the people of Jamaica to come
together in consensus over law and order and security. He used his Emancipation Day message, August 1, to make the call stating that slavery could only have existed because the oppressors were able to divide people.
“Emancipation was NOT a gift… Slavery could only persist because the oppressors were able to divide us. Once there was unity and consensus emerged, freedom was inevitable,” Prime Minister Holness said.
Using the theme of unity and consensus he spoke about the partnership agreement among Government, Opposition, and Private Sector and Civil society.
He said it had endured from 2009, when the Government “embarked on a formal process of consensus building called the partnership for transformation.”
The 2011 Partnership Code of Conduct and two (2) successive social partnership agreements provided a framework for deepening the process of participatory decision-making and engendering trust and confidence through dialogue on the critical challenges facing us as a nation. These included: the country’s debt and fiscal challenges, modernizing Jamaica’s electricity infrastructure and improving the country’s “Doing Business” climate.
However one important challenge identified remained, it is “Improving public order, with a particular focus on reducing the murder rate.”
Mr Holness said “I believe there is general agreement around the social intervention aspects of addressing issues of law and order, public safety and security. However, we have not been able to develop consensus on the crime fighting aspects of law, order and security.”
The Prime Minister mentioned the HOPE programme and Zones of Special Operations that would help attend to unacceptable social conditions and alienation of youth. He said the Government was committed to these and other actions to help build hope and consensus about law and order.