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JM | Jan 25, 2022

Mark Golding gives Antony Anderson 60 days to ‘perform or resign’ amid murder spike

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Opposition Leader also insists Chang must resign for failing to control violence epidemic

Opposition Leader Mark Golding speaking at a People’s National Party (PNP) press conference on Tuesday, January 25. Also pictured are (from left) Morais Guy, Dayton Campbell and Fitz Jackson. (Photo contributed)

Amid the wave of murders raging across Jamaica, Opposition Leader Mark Golding has called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to immediately relieve Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang of his portfolio.

Golding, speaking at a People’s National Party (PNP) press conference on Tuesday (January 25), also put Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson on notice.

“This Government has totally mismanaged the national security of our country. Jamaica has witnessed a 10 per cent increase in murders in 2021 and a 19 per cent increase over the first three or so weeks of 2022—with 112 people being killed in 23 days,” Golding remarked.

“Jamaica cannot go on like this. There must be accountability for such poor performance in the critical area of our national security. Dr Horace Chang’s tenure as minister of national security has been an abject failure; leaving Jamaicans feeling frightened, hopeless and in despair. He clearly cannot bring the vision, energy, vigour and communication skills which that portfolio requires,” he added.

Insisting that the onus is on Holness, Golding said Chang should be stripped of the national security ministry to make way for someone else with a “fresh and hopefully more effective approach”.

As the crime problem is lobbed across party lines like football, Holness has repeatedly voiced his satisfaction with Chang’s management of the national security portfolio. Chang, who also serves as deputy prime minister, gave himself a passing grade even as the wanton bloodlust continued.

Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson giving a presentation as the Government of Jamaica announced public states of emergency in seven police divisions on Sunday, November 14. Looking on are Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang. (Photo: Twitter @JamaicaConstab)

The PNP leader also demanded Anderson’s capitulation from the top cop job within the next 60 days if a noticeable change isn’t seen in the national murder tally.

According to the Opposition Leader, Anderson, a career soldier with no policing background or expertise, does not fit the leadership requirement of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and is ‘all-too-eager’ to trample on civil liberties with his staunch advocacy for states of emergency (SOEs).

“Commissioner of Police Antony Anderson is also hereby being put on warning. He’s the main architect and promoter of the Government’s State of Emergency strategy as an ongoing policing tool. No other commissioner of police before him has followed that unprecedented and what we regard dangerous path… Abrogating the most basic and hard-earned rights of Jamaicans in the name of ordinary policing,” Golding argued.

“The constitutionality of this use of the States of Emergency is in serious doubt. If the commissioner cannot find another approach to getting the crime problem under control within the next 60 days, I think he must call it a day as well and allow someone else to take up the mantle of commissioner,” he said further.

The Opposition is again imploring the Government to utilise the tools available to fight crime, such as Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs), Police Powers Act, and social intervention initiatives such as Unite for Change and Peace Management Initiative (PMI).

It is also imperative that the Government enact the necessary legislation to enable the security forces to do their jobs. Critical pieces of legislation such as the Enhanced Security Measures Act and amendments to the Firearms Act have been delayed by the government, as they have been tardy in bringing these legislations to Parliament.

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