Members of the House of Representatives during its sitting yesterday (January 30) unanimously voted in favour of the resolution to extend the State of Public Emergency in St. James until May 2, 2018. The resolution which was put forward by Prime Minister Andrew Holness was supported by all 51 members present at the sitting.
More than two-thirds majority voted in favor of the motion being carried; Fifty-one members voted in favor, while the eleven other members were absent from the sitting.
In his opening remarks about the State of Public Emergency in St. James, Prime Minister Holness said that “it was not anticipated that all that is required would be accomplished in fourteen days.”
“It is reasonable to expect that even with extraordinary powers, it will take some time to affect the situation in St. James, as intelligence picture is built and not only perpetrators but also facilitators targeted,” said Mr. Holness.
The Prime Minister went on to explain that it is within that context that an extension of the State of Public Emergency and the Emergency Powers Regulations remain in force.
An extension of the period must be approved by both Houses of Parliament by resolution supported by a two thirds majority of all members of each house.
The extension can allow for the continuation of the State of Public Emergency for a period not exceeding three months.
The Senate will meet on Thursday [February 1] to vote on the matter.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness informed the House that since the declaration of the State of Public Emergency, over 50 persons have been arrested and charged with over 9 guns seized.