The House of Representatives has approved resolutions extending two enhanced security measures in St James – the State of Emergency for the parish and the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mt Salem, Montego Bay.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 16, approved the resolution extending the State of Public Emergency (SOE) in St James until January 31, 2019.
All 47 members of the House that were present voted in favor of the motion. Sixteen members were absent.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness aid the SOE has been successful in reducing murders which had reached a state of emergency, prior to the SOE. Murder is down from 234 for the period January 1 to October 11 in 2017 to 77 for the comparable period this year.
“Given the state of affairs today, and the comparatively good results between the 2017 and 2018 crime figures, we can unequivocally say at this point it has been successful in reducing murders,” he added.
Mr. Holness said that between January 1, 2018 when the SOE was declared and October 11, 2018, the St. James Police Division accounted for 77 murders and 86 shooting incidents.
This reflected declines of 53 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively, in murders and shootings, when compared to the same period in 2017, when there were 234 murders and 184 shootings.
During the SOE, the security forces have the power to search, curtail operating hours of business, restrict access to places and detain persons without a warrant.
It also gives them power to stop and question persons, seize property, and control public gatherings and movements.
And the House of Representatives also on Tuesday, October approved a resolution extending the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St. James, for a period of 60 days.
With regard to ZOSO, The Resolution was moved by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who noted that activities in the community have progressed steadily since its declaration as Jamaica’s first Zone of Special Operations in September 2017.
“Today, the high rate of gang-related violence, which previously characterized the community, and the police division by extension, is no longer at the level it was prior to the declaration of the Zone,” he said. He said social intervention had paralleled security intervention in the community.