Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, is blaming gang warfare for the surge in murders across the country since the start of the year. Over 100 people have been killed since the start of the year.
In general, the increase in murders is intricately linked to changes in the economy because of the global pandemic. The entertainment and tourism sectors, which would normally provide indirect income to gang members and corner crews, for example, are now in flux. Similarly, corruption at the ports is being closely monitored to collect every cent possible given the reduction in imports. This has forced the crime element to find income through robberies and extortion. These crimes often lead to violent incidents which end in murder.
Despite pumping billions of dollars into the national security infrastructure over the past four years, the government has failed in enacting accompanying legislation to effectively bring the island’s crime problem under control, Chang has admitted.
He said efforts by the police to dismantle gangs have been working, despite it not being reflected in the murder statistics so far this year. According to Chang, who is also the deputy prime minister, the government has deployed more police in crime-plagued areas and invested heavily in more resources to aid law enforcers.