Parliament has approved the extension of the Zones of Special Operations in Mount Salem, St. James and Denham Town, Kingston.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday (Tuesday, February 5) sought and received the approval of Parliament for the extension of the two zones for a further sixty (60) days.
Prime Minister Holness told the Parliament that the security measures in both communities have been effective.
“These measures are long term in nature. They are not just designed to have a reduction in crime for sixty days, the intention is that these communities will develop the leadership, they will develop the institutions and the general environment of peace. Infrastructure and other kinds of development will be brought to these communities”, explained Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister also noted a significant reduction in murders in both zones. The communities are now in the build phase where there is a focus on development activities alongside security-based activities.
Zones of Special Operations have been effective- PM Holness
In the meantime, the Prime Minister told the Parliament that there are additional communities which will benefit from the ZOSO in the coming fiscal year.
“We have budgeted for a few more communities in the coming fiscal year and we believe that these interventions through the Zones of Special Operations will contribute to the reduction of the murder rate, [and] the reduction of crimes generally but, more importantly, to establish peace in our country. Because at the heart of the problem, regardless of how much we spend on policing, which is important, at the heart of the problem if it is the intention of the citizen to resolve conflicts through violence then no amount of policemen can stop that. So, the focus of the Government is also on building the communities… The peacebuilding has to provide the space in which the community can grow and take ownership and that is what the Zones of Special Operations has done”, stated Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister added that “this modality [ZOSO] works and now it is the goal of the government to scale this up as rapidly as possible to ensure that our communities that are at risk that we reach out and reclaim them and make Jamaica the safe place we know it can be”.