Citizens must also change how they respond to authority and law enforcement
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government of Jamaica absolutely rejects the abuse of Jamaica’s citizens by law enforcement.
In response to recent videos that have surfaced of altercations between law enforcement and citizens in the Denham Town community, the Prime Minister said he has been in discussions with the Chief of Defence Staff and the Minister of National Security who are closely monitoring the conduct of the officers.
The Prime Minister said;
“The Government of Jamaica will never, in any way empower our security forces to abuse our citizens. Everyone who wears a uniform and is under oath to serve and protect, must understand that directive of the government.”
Sections of the Denham Town community have been under a Zone of Special Operation for several months. However, there has been an increase in reports of challenges between citizens and the security forces.
The Prime Minister underscored that the incidents are unfortunate, and noted that directives have been given to the security chiefs which are to be properly and thoroughly executed “to ensure the preservation of life and the enhancement of the security of the citizens.”
He stressed that the security forces must be serving and protecting our citizens. However, Prime Minister Holness also called on citizens to change their reaction to authority.
“The citizens also have a duty and a responsibility. Too often we have seen where police officers and members of the military are conducting their lawful duties and there is a high level of unreasonable resistance; unnecessary confrontation which leads to conflict. So, in as much as we have to hold strong rein on our security forces, each and every citizen has to change the way in which we respond and react to authority and to law enforcement. I am appealing to citizens to change the way they behave toward the security forces, as we seek to build a more caring, more loving and less aggressive society,” said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Holness also sounded a clear warning about attempts to put an end to the ZOSO in Denham Town.
Prime Minister Holness said: “The Government of Jamaica will not pull down the ZOSO in Denham Town to give space to criminals. So, if there is anyone who is trying to deliberately plan, coordinate, stoke; that will not work. We are not going to allow criminals to dictate our security response.”
Finally, Prime Minister Holness indicated that he will be touring the community of Denham Town soon to meet with residents and members of the joint security team.