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PNP ready for anti-crime talks with Gov't but ...

Published:Wednesday | January 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall/Associate Editor
Dr Peter Phillips

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips says the People's National Party (PNP) is ready to enter talks with the Government on a national anti-crime plan, but he argues that it was up to the Andrew Holness administration to take the lead.

"We have urged the Government to give us a plan around which we can coalesce, but we have to get one," said Phillips yesterday on the Power 106 programme Power Talk hosted by opposition MP Ronald Thwaites.

"I am told that there were extensive discussions, during the recent Cabinet retreat, and that the National Security Council was deliberating subsequent to those discussions, and so, I am expecting that a plan will come out.

"We are willing to cooperate, lend our support and lend our critique to any plan that is put on the table, said Phillips.

He argued that one sticking point is that the opposition is constrained to just declaring its support for anti-crime measures if it is not provided with hard data.

"To develop a serious response we need to have access to the intelligence reports, to the budgetary specifics, the details of international collaborations and all of that.

"If a plan is forthcoming and they share all of these things, we would be willing to sit at the table and see what areas we could add our experience to improving, or changing or anything," added Phillips as he declared that the members of the opposition love Jamaica and want to see it move forward.

National Security Minister Robert Montague last year indicated his intention to engage the opposition on anti-crime talks, but so far only a meeting at a the level of parish councillors has been arranged.

In recent days, civic groups have increased their calls for the political parties to provide a unified front on crime, with more than 60 persons killed in the first 13 days of this year following 1,616 killings last year.