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Jamaica’s Minister of National Security Robert Montague says the scourge of crime is a significant cost to the economy.
In fact, it’s approximately five per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“If we were able to cut crime in half, the economy would grow by two and a half per cent without the investment of a single additional dollar,” Montague contended.
He pointed out that it cost the health services some J$400,000 (US$) per day to keep one gunshot victim in intensive care.
“Now, we have just over 1,000 gunshot victims so far this year and if you multiply that by $400,000 then it should give you an idea as to how much money we are spending because of crime,” he noted.
The National Security Minister argued that if crime was significantly reduced the Government would be able to spend more money on infrastructure development as well as to pump more resources into health and education.
“The schools would be better equipped. We would have more water in more communities as well as better garbage disposal. I say all of this to emphasize the importance of putting our collective energies together in dealing with the scourge of crime,” he said.
Montague said the Government will be leaving no stone unturned in dealing with the problem, noting that the citizens of the country have a right to live in peaceful communities.
“We are not going to allow the criminals to dictate how we live or how we go about our daily lives. Their actions have come at a great economic cost to our communities and to our country,” he said.
He added the “onus is on everybody to try and do better and to rise up and say enough is enough. We have a lot at stake and we simply have to operate on a united front and be ready to take back our communities”.