Says the history of the use of emergency powers, shows that they have been effective
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that special legislation known as the Enhanced Security Measures Act (ESMA) will be brought before Parliament and made public shortly. This follows the announcement of the New Bail, Firearms and Corrections Acts.Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Little London police station in Westmoreland today (April 7) Prime Minister Holness said special emergency powers are required as part of the crime fighting strategy and plan. “I do hope that a wise position will prevail on the use of the emergency powers. It is an important tool to give communities at war a sense of peace”, said Prime Minister Holness. The Prime Minister further stressed that there is an emergency in the country and the Government and Judiciary must be cognizant of same. He emphasized that generally, the perpetrators and victims of crime are young men between the ages of 16 and 24. He underscored, that the ESMA will place specific focus on this area. In the meantime, the Prime Minister indicated that the Government has taken a comprehensive approach to crime fighting through Plan Secure Jamaica; a component of that is the use of emergency powers. “When we used the emergency powers in the parish of Westmoreland, it worked. We cannot deny the history of the use of emergency powers. If any government should fear the use of emergency powers, it should be this government. And when we decided to use it as a strategy, we didn’t just immediately implement,” said Prime Minister Holness. He further said; “As we pursue the use of emergency measures, our police force, our military understand that any power they have, must be used within the law and with respect for the citizens; I believe we have shown that and done that.” Prior to the implementation of the SOE, the Prime Minister said the Government had gone through a thorough process of training the security forces to effectively use force without violence while carrying out their duties. Finally, the Prime Minister announced that the Government is moving toward a compulsory national service programme to be rolled out in short order through the Jamaica National Service Corps, JNSC.