IDB Approves US$20-m Loan For Jamaica

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) | The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) yesterday said it had approved a US$20- million loan to support the Jamaican Government’s efforts to measurably increase the conviction rate for murders and other violent crimes. It said this project aims to help reduce homicides through intensified crime prevention activities, as well as to improve the quality and rate of criminal investigations being managed by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The IDB said that key metrics will be the number of murder investigations and the overall murder conviction rate. The project will also fund the training of JCF personnel in the use of technology to combat crime and to improve criminal case management. Jamaica’s crime rate of 223 per 100,000 inhabitants continues to be among the highest in the Americas, and has negatively affected its economic growth prospects.

Between 2010 and 2016, the country averaged more than 1,200 murders. Out of this total, just 43 per cent resulted in an arrest and subsequent criminal charges being filed against a suspect. Just 36 individuals or three per cent were successfully incarcerated on murder charges each year.

The IDB said that this project will also seek to address the high percentage of female murder victims of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence. During the last five years, 19 per cent of female murders were the result of domestic violence, as compared to three per cent of male murders.

“Modernising the intelligence of the Jamaica Constabulary Force through the use of technology and better surveillance techniques are important to enhancing policing and citizen security in Jamaica,” said Therese Turner-Jones, general manager of the IDB’s Caribbean Country Department. “A modern, trained police force is fundamental to improving the lives of the people of Jamaica,” she added. The US$20-million loan is for a 25- year term, including a 5.5-year grace period, at a LIBOR-based interest rate, and is funded through the IDB’s Ordinary Capital.