|Big drop in crime could turn around economy -- Henry-Wilson
Friday, April 04, 2003
MINISTER of education, Maxine Henry-Wilson, says Jamaica could experience a turn-around in economic fortunes if the nation works collectively at reducing the high level of crime and violence.
"I can guarantee you, if we are able to cut the crime rate by a third or a half, that we will have a better economic environment and your opportunities will be multiplied," Henry-Wilson said,
A reduction in crime, she argued, would provide a climate more suitable for investment and increase the earning opportunity of poor Jamaicans.
Speaking at a conflict resolution workshop for residents of Mountain View and surrounding areas Wednesday, the minister pointed to the huge cost of violence, which she said affected life, property, community and opportunity.
According to Henry-Wilson, the strain on the Government's coffer was being further compounded by the problem of crime, with the security and health sectors being the hardest hit.
She noted, for example, that apart from education, the security and health ministries received the biggest chunk of the national resources.
In the case of the health sector, Henry-Wilson pointed out that the heavy influx of patients with gunshot wounds and other injuries also placed an additional burden on medical staff.
"Most of the health care that we are giving is for gunshots, accidents and stabbings. That means when your granny gets sick and go to Kingston Public Hospital, they can't have no time to deal with her", she said.
The minister added that the effects of crime and violence on inner-city schools was also taking its toll on the education sector, as children are often forced to miss school.
"Each day lost is valuable and cannot be regained", the minister commented.
The Conflict Resolution Workshop was held by the Dispute Resolution Foundation in collaboration with the Palisadoes Co-op Credit Union Limited. The workshop was aimed at exposing residents of the conflicting communities of Mountain View to ways of dealing with conflicts other than by violence