A New State of Emergency Declared in Jamaica – This Time in Parts of the Capital

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left), announces a State of Public Emergency (SOE) for sections of the Kingston Central, Kingston Western, and St. Andrew South Police Divisions. Listening (from 2nd left) are: Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang; Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson; and Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade. (Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday September 25, 2018
– A State of Emergency has been declared in parts of Jamaica’s capital, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying the increased criminal activities in the communities are now “over and above the capacity of existing law enforcement”.

He said the enhanced security measure in sections of the Kingston Central, Kington Western, and St. Andrew South Police Divisions, will initially last for 14 days.

Holness said the Government sees it necessary to use the extraordinary powers within the State of Public Emergency, to “address long standing and entrenched crime, and public order issues,” in some of the communities within the police divisions.

“The government considers the crime situation in these areas to be over and above the capacity of existing law enforcement. The objective is therefore to degrade and erode the capacity of criminal organizations to operate and control these spaces to break and indeed challenge the culture of lawless that exits in some communities in these areas and ultimately to provide the space in which law abiding citizens and regular policing can work together to provide peace and harmony in these areas,” he said.

Holness emphasized that criminal activities have curtailed businesses, undermined the rule of law, and have deprived citizens of their general right to live peacefully.

The Prime Minister indicated that careful planning went into the security measure, taking into account traffic flows, students attending school, and business operations, while pointing out that the areas affected will get increased support from the security forces.

Meantime, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said there should be minimal disruption to activities in the areas covered by the state of emergency.

“We expect normalcy to be carried out in the areas, although it is heavily commercialized and there is heavy traffic. But we have the skill set to ensure that things continue smoothly,” he said.

This is the third State of Emergency to be declared in Jamaica since the start of the year. A state of emergency in the parish of St James, which includes the tourist area of Montego Bay, remains in place after being extended on several occasions – the latest until October 31. Another state of emergency in St Catherine North has also been extended until October 2.

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