Jamaica Looks to Dismantle Gangs

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 22, 2012

Above: Jamaican National Security Minister Peter Bunting (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Given the country’s ongoing problem with gang violence, Jamaican National Security Minister Peter Bunting wants to shift its traditional security strategy.

Historically, tackling gangs has been done by confronting members and removing them from communities — but that has had only a short term hold, according to National Security Minister Peter Bunting.

“The hold was for a relatively short period of time,” he said. “What we want is really, more than just confronting the gangs, but dismantling them. The difference is, not only will you clear and hold, but you have to build the communities so that there is not a receptive environment for those gangs to return to.”

Jamaica is about 80 percent of the way through the development of a new national security policy, Bunting said, with the second phase to be completed within the next two months.

The new policy replaces a previous document developed in 2007 but never implemented.

“In 2012, it wouldn’t’ make sense to be implementing a 2007 National Security Policy,” he said. “With the passage of time, much of what is in that would have been overtaken.”

The new plan will go after criminal enterprises by targeting their proceeds — and the focus will be expanded to include drug kingpins, corrupt officials and street operatives.

“We are creating a multi-agency task force to focus on the corrupt players and their facilitators,” he said.

To learn more about Jamaica’s fight against crime, see Caribbean Journal’s interview with Bunting from January.

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