CMC – In Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday announced States of Public Emergency (SOEs) in eight parishes.
During a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, he said the SOEs are in effect in St. Ann, Clarendon, St. Catherine, Kingston, St. Andrew, St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover to curtail increased criminal activities and bolster public safety.
He said after carefully considering recommendations from the security chiefs, his government decided to notify the Governor-General that it was necessary and appropriate to declare the SOEs.
“While we have had reasonable success in controlling the number of murders leading up to and during the Christmas season, the threat levels for ongoing gang conflicts, contract killings, organized robberies of businesses, hijacking of goods in transit and various… scams that lead, ultimately, to the loss of lives, spreading of fear and depriving entire communities of their freedom to pursue their business and happiness… remain elevated and extensive in scale,” he said.
Holness insisted that the Government has to maximized and use all lawful means to multiply and project its security resources, not only to investigate and interdict after the occurrence of crimes or loss of lives but to increase presence to deter criminals and conduct various operations to pre-empt them.
He said the proof of the security measure’s effectiveness is in the immediate reduction in murders and its follow-on lag effect during periods, going forward.
“Last year December, there were 127 murders committed in Jamaica. If we were to annualize this, that would mean a murder rate of 56 [persons] per 100,000. That is unacceptable in any country, by any standard, by any means.
“So after studying the situation carefully and being seized of the data and intelligence which showed a similar trend this year, the Government acted reasonably and decisively to save lives and to preserve the freedoms of ordinary citizens,” Holness said.