Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson is slamming the government over the imposition of a State of Emergency in parts of Southern St. Andrew and Central Kingston.
He said the government is showing that its only approach to fighting crime is to declare States of Emergency. “What we are clear on now is that the government’s only response to the crime situation is the SOE’s. This involves the removal of the normal rights and freedoms of Jamaicans. One would have thought that the government would have developed other strategies, having been given a breathing space in the areas where SOE’s already existed, to deal with crime and violence in other areas.
He said the SOE’s have not been effective. “When you look at the number of guns and ammunition seized up to this point compared with the same period last year, it is much less.”
However, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the government has been utilising other crime fighting strategies outside of the State of Emergency.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday to announce the latest state of emergency he said: “While the States of Emergency have been an effective tool in the decline in the murder figures and crime generally, it is not a sustainable tool. There are counterpart measures which are being executed alongside the SOE’s. Some of these are forward-facing, like the establishment of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch which is having an impact on the flow of traffic and order in public spaces.”
He added that there are other things that are happening in the background such as the improvement in the investigative capacity of the Force, so that when cases are brought before the courts there is strong evidence on which the justice system can make rulings.
He continued: “The decline in murder that has been happening is not just in the areas where there is a state of emergency. The government is improving its regular policing, intelligence and surveillance capability and we are making a major impact on crime.”
Jamaica’s murder figures have declined by more than 20 per cent this year, when compared to the same period last year.