Prime Minister Andrew Holness (2nd left) gets an update on activities in the Kingston Eastern Police Division from Sergeant Marvin Wallace (left) during a visit to a state of emergency (SOE) checkpoint in the division on Monday. Also listening (from third left) are Deputy Prime Minister and National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang; Police Commissioner, Maj Gen Antony Anderson; Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte; and Minister Robert Morgan (Photos: JIS)
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The Government is contemplating the declaration of another state of Emergency (SOE) as part of ongoing crime-fighting efforts.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness while speaking with members of the security forces at a SOE checkpoint near the Mountain View Police Station in Kingston on Monday (November 28). He was visiting areas in the East Kingston Police Division.
“It is certainly being contemplated by the Government to declare a new SOE under new circumstances and with new advice. It is well within our constitution so to do. We are watching the situation very carefully to see whether or not there are any adverse changes as a result of the (ongoing) SOE coming to an end,” he said.
The SOEs, now in effect in several parishes and police divisions across the island, will expire at midnight on Tuesday, November 29.
The SOEs involve the parishes of Clarendon, St Catherine, St James, Westmoreland, Hanover and specified areas in Kingston and St Andrew.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) greets a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) during a visit to a state of emergency (SOE) checkpoint within the Kingston Eastern Police Division on Monday. With them (from second left) are Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, and Commanding Officer for the police division, Superintendent Tommie-Lee Chambers.
Holness said the SOEs have been effective, with proven results in enhancing public safety and security.
He said in areas where the enhanced security measures have been declared, there have been reductions in murders.
“What we can say, and what I have heard from all members of the force, and what I have heard from members of the community, is that the SOEs work, and that they have saved lives. In this entire area, in this police division, we have only had two murders in the two weeks of the SOEs. This, coming from, sometimes, in excess of 30 murders, and those two murders were outside of the SOE zones. The point of fact is, this is a tool that works,” the prime minister asserted.
He further said the enhanced security measure assists in increasing the security forces’ resources.
He said it also provides an added layer of public safety and security, particularly during the Christmas season when there is increased demand on the JCF for issues such as traffic management and public order.
“The other critical point to note about the SOEs is the expansion of the force that it creates. We are able to utilise, not just joint operations… between the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), but the JDF is able to undertake certain operations by themselves, because the SOEs afford them some amount of policing power, and it has been working,” stated Holness.