Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a tour of Mt Salem, St James on Sunday.
The government is spending $120 million on two funds to incentivise the sharing of information about wanted persons and weapons, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced.
A fund of $20 million, called the Fugitive Apprehension Programme, will go towards rewarding persons who provide information leading to the arrest of Jamaica’s top 20 wanted persons.
“So information that leads to the apprehension of a fugitive, the reward is $1 million,” Holness said.
Meanwhile, the other fund of $100 million will reward persons, who provide information that leads to the recovery of weapons, ammunition or explosives across the island.
The funds, which go live on Monday, will be administered by the Ministry of National Security, who will partner with various organisations that support public participation in solving crime, such as Crime Stop.
Holness went on to reassure the public that the government will not receive information from persons who report crimes.
Members of the Jamaica Defence Force in Mt Salem after the St James community was declared as the first Zone of Special Operations.
“We are working with Crime Stop, it’s an independent entity that has developed a high level of credibility in working with the public,” Holness told a press briefing after touring the first Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mt Salem, St James on Sunday.
He added: “Crime Stop has its own protocol, and if the information leads to the recovery of a firearm, you will get a reward. We are encouraging the people of Jamaica to participate in the fight against crime by giving information.”
Over the next five days, provisions have been made for persons within the ZOSO to help the police recover guns, without being arrested.
“The normal procedure will be to arrest the owner of the premises or anyone on the premises. But over the next five days the objective of the police is to retrieve the firearm within the zone,” Holness explained.
He added: “This is being done to encourage citizens to work with the police, to cooperate with the joint force to give information where the guns are so that those who share in the information won’t be in jeopardy of being wrongfully arrested if they give information that leads to the recovery of a firearm. But after this [five days’], the police will return to the law.”
If a firearm is discovered on a person, then the normal course of the law will apply, and that person will be arrested.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a tour of Mt Salem, St James.
He also sought to assure Mt Salem residents that the security forces will remain in the area for the next 60 days as part of the strategy of the ZOSO.
“We will control the space, criminals will not be allowed to enter the space,” the prime minister said. “Now is this grand opportunity to rid the community of weapons that has destroyed it for decades.”
Holness also commended the security forces for their work over the past few days.
“They have done an amazing job, quite a bit of planning has gone into the operations, the army and the police have taken control. They have done it in a way that minimizes inconvenience,” Holness said.
One woman congratulated the police and soldiers for their work, Holness said.
“People are beginning to see that good things can happen in the zone of special operations,” he said.
The first ZOSO under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act was established last Friday in Mt Salem.
The decision to declare Mt Salem as the first zone was based on police statistics, which show that the area is a major crime hotspot.
The zone will operate for 60 days.