Prime Minister Andrew Holness this morning (September 1) declared the first Zone of Special Security and Community Development Operations in the Mount Salem community and its environs in St. James under The Law Reform (Zones of Social Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act, 2017.
The Prime Minister made the disclosure at a press briefing held at Jamaica House.
The Gazetted Order of the declaration is dated Friday, September 1, 2017 and the zone will operate for a period of sixty (60) days.
Prime Minister Holness said this is a new law for special measures for upholding and preserving the rule of law, public order, citizen security and public safety within certain geographically defined areas of Jamaica.
“The rule of law must be upheld and preserved in every nook and cranny of Jamaica. We can no longer afford any area to provide a safe haven for criminals to hide. Zone by zone, community by community, square inch by square inch, we will establish and restore public order, citizen security and public safety. We will make Jamaica safe again,” he declared.
According to the Prime Minister, in accordance with written nominations of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commissioner of Police, Major Godfrey Sterling of the JDF and Mr Kirk Ricketts, Superintendent of Police of the JCF have been designated to be jointly in charge of operations within the zone.
Mr Holness also revealed that Omar Sweeny, Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has been appointed as Deputy Chairman of the Social Intervention Committee that is to be established within five (5) working days.
Outlining why a zone was not immediately declared after the law came into effect on July 14, 2017, Prime Minister Holness explained that, “The National Security Council took the deliberate decision to carefully sequence the implementation steps, as we learned from past mistakes. We also wanted to ensure that we complied with the legislative requirements.”
Major General Rocky Meade, Chief of Defence Staff announced that a joint force of the JCF and the JDF was deployed to the zone this morning.
Meanwhile, Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake said the objective is to disrupt and dismantle gangs for a safe community.
Under the law, within the zone, the Joint Command has the power to establish cordons and impose curfews.
In addition, the National Security Council will convene to receive and consider the written report of the Joint Command that must be submitted every ten (10) days.
The Prime Minister will also update the nation by making a statement to Parliament within fourteen days in accordance with the law.