Tuesday 19 November, 2019

PHOTOS: Another State of Emergency for Jamaica

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left) at a press conference at Jamaica House on Sunday at which a state of emergency was announced for the St Andrew South Police Division. Also pictured (l-r) are Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Andreson; National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang; and Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left) at a press conference at Jamaica House on Sunday at which a state of emergency was announced for the St Andrew South Police Division. Also pictured (l-r) are Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Andreson; National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang; and Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade.

Jamaican  Prime Minister, Andrew Holness on Sunday announced that a state of emergency (SOE) has been declared in the country's capital, Kingston.

This latest SOE is in the St Andrew South Police Division

“Violence is at epidemic proportions in Jamaica and we should treat it as an epidemic,” Holness said at a press briefing at Jamaica House.

“Government has as its first responsibility, the preservation of life. It is important for Governments to ensure that the average citizen feels safe and secure."

He said the measure being implemented is necessary, and he had advised the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen to issue the documentation authorising the SOE.

Flanked by National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang; Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson; and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) head, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, Holness said 70 per cent of all murders being committed in Jamaica are gang-related.

“As it relates to deaths, as it relates to criminal activities, there are three factors we have to attend to - dons who lead gangs and those who use guns. That is the feature - dons, gangs and guns,” he said.

“In St Andrew South, the main cause of death is gang-related."

He made a case for the SOE by citing that despite measures like the Suppression of Crimes Act and the Gun Court, murders still rose exponentially in the country. The SOE, he said, has been the only measure that has shown to be able to cause a (significant) decline in murders.

loopcayman State of Emergency for St Andrew South Police Division

“In St James since the state of the tri-parish state of emergency, there have been 17 murders, of which eight are related to domestic interpersonal reasons,” he said.

In describing the overall crime situation nationally, especially relative to murders, Holness declared: “This is an epidemic and no one should tell that the country should be satisfied with it”.

The cold, hard data of the growth in murders in Jamaica since 1962.

He pointed to the high murder rate and stated that if that number of persons had died due to a disease, taking emergency measures would be a no-brainer.

“The truth is that the level of crime is above the capacity of law enforcement to (effectively) respond. There have been 11,000 murders in the last eight years, and we do not have enough investigators,” said Holness.

“The Government is employing not just one strategy, but a raft of strategies that must complement each other."

The St Andrew South Police Division encompasses the lower western section of Maxfield Avenue, Spanish Town Road going west from Maxfield Avenue to Washington Boulevard and north towards Molynes Road.

The division has some traditionally volatile communities, including Greenwich Town, Majestic Gardens, Tower Hill, Compound, Waterhouse, Goat Island, Bell Rock, Sherlock Avenue, Brooke Valley, Payne Land and Mongoose Town.

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