Prime Minister Andrew Holness this morning (November 14, 2021) announced States of Public Emergency in three western parishes and sections of the Corporate Area spanning 7 police divisions.
The SOE became effective at midnight November 14, 2021.
Speaking during a virtual press conference to announce the SOEs, the Prime Minister said given the increase in murders, the security heads of the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, recommended the SOEs be implemented. They will cover the western parishes of St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover and police divisions in the Corporate Area; St. Andrew South, Kingston Western, Kingston Central and Kingston Eastern.
With the country’s current murder rates per hundred thousand in excess of the regional average which is 15%, Prime Minister Holness said:
“These increases we consider to be of an extensive scale such that they threaten public safety both in the communities in which we have declared SOEs and nationally, but more than that we have declared them (States of Public Emergency) because of the nature and frequency of the violence.”
The Prime Minister also said;
“Every Jamaican would have recognised that the nature and frequency of the violence have evolved to a level of barbarity and a level of savagery; it is almost a competition for cruelty; the worst of the worst. It appears to be designed and properly calculated to drive fear into the citizenry of the country and panic in communities.”
The Prime Minister underscored emphatically, that the Government will continue to take action against crime and violence in Jamaica.
Also speaking during the Press Conference, Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang said, “We are confident, that by staying this course (effecting SOEs), we will break the back on this scourge of crime and violence in Jamaica. It is the commitment of the Government of Jamaica, to the people of Jamaica and the residents in the affected communities.”
In the meantime, in his response to questions from the media, Prime Minister Holness said, the intention of this Government, is to preserve lives and increase public order and public safety.
Additionally, the Prime Minister noted that the security forces, and by extension the Government, has worked to acquire the necessary resources to tackle crime, however it is now the social issue of the culture of violence to which we must altogether focus our attention.