People who complain about SOEs are not the people who benefit from them – Prime Minister Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the States of Public Emergency (SOE) have been reimplemented in Clarendon, St Catherine, St James, Westmoreland, Hanover and sections of Kingston and St Andrew. St Ann has also been put under a SOE.
The Prime Minister underscored that the reimposition of the SOE follows the effectiveness of those which were previously implemented which saw significant reduction in the crime and homicide rates in the targeted areas as well as nationally.
During the 14-day period of the SOE, homicides declined to 31 islandwide (a 46% decline). In the areas under the SOE, 17 homicides were recorded, (a 64% decrease).
The Prime Minister said when SOEs are declared, persons in “violence-plagued communities feel safer, and the impact tends to be immediate.”
“The people who complain about the SOEs are not the people who benefit from them. [The ones who benefit are] those who have to hide under their beds, hide their daughters, can’t go to church and who see their sons, their boyfriends and husbands killed. That’s the reality.”
Further, Prime Minister Holness noted the vote in the Senate not to extend the previous SOE, however, he welcomes the Leader of the Opposition’s proposal regarding “pre-charge detention”.
The Prime Minister said:
“This was the very thing that they had rejected previously, but I say better late than never. I welcome it. I welcome it because it represents, for the very first time, a recognition by the Opposition, that special powers are occasionally required for the security forces to address the epidemic of crime that we face.”
The Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson said the 2022 Christmas season will be the first without restrictions since 2019 and as such the demands on the security forces will be even greater, hence the need for the SOE at this time.
The Commissioner stated:
“The demonstrable efficacy and flexibility of the use of the emergency powers will be essential over the next six weeks to meet all of the security demands that are a feature of this period. As most people go off to enjoy the celebrations and time with family, our officers will be at work to ensure the conditions for a peaceful period are created for others.”
The Public is encouraged to comply and assist the security forces with any information by calling the JCF tip line at 811 or the police emergency at 119 or Crime Stop at 311.