Jamaica’s National Security Minister Robert Montague says the government is not satisfied with the “unacceptable trend in the country’s murder rate” and urged Jamaicans to effectively deal with the culture of silence.
In a statement to Parliament on Tuesday, Montague said that the crime fighting initiatives were being hampered by several factors and spoke of what he termed “a most disturbing trend” in the discovery of altars to facilitate devil worship in many places where raids have been conducted by the security forces.
Most dangerous trend
“This is a most dangerous trend and the clergy is also disturbed by it. Sir, the savagery, the brutality and horrific nature of some crimes point to sacrifices to these evil forces. Sir, almost a year ago I made a flippant comment suggesting that my uncle was an obeah man. It was meant to be a joke, but many persons were not amused.”
He also said he wanted to apologize for the “remark and the offensiveness it has caused “while giving the “assurance and publicly state that I am not into devil or evil worship in no way shape or form.
Worships one God
“I worship one God! The one and only true God that reigns, forgives and sustains! I am not into devil worship. Some people are playing with things they know nothing about and open gates they cannot close. “Sir, the trend is disturbing and must be stopped,” Montague said, telling legislators that the authorities are also “closely monitoring another situation in which juveniles are figuring prominently across Jamaica as either the perpetrators or victims of crime.”
He said according to data compiled by the Jamaica Constabulary Force Statistics and Information Management Unit and published by a local newspaper “78 teenagers were arrested for shooting, 148 were arrested for illegal possession of firearm, and 63 for robbery with aggravation last year.”
Culture of silence
Montague said that another challenge facing the country is “the culture of silence that resides among some of us as leaders and citizens of this beloved country.
“We must pass information to the police. We must create and drive a “wedge” between us and the criminals! This moment we face as a nation demands a fundamental change, a break with the past. Good people can no longer remain silent. We must come together for Jamaica! We must become patriots not only informants! We must tell what we know! We must support a change.”
He also said that the since the state of emergency was declared in St. James last week, the authorities have detained close to 200 people, including those wanted for murder and shooting, seized a number of firearms and ammunition.