KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday February 14, 2018 – The zones of special operations (ZOSOs) in two communities in Jamaica are to be extended by a further 60 days.
The House of Representatives yesterday approved two resolutions requesting the extensions in Mount Salem, St James, and Denham Town in Kingston.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who moved the resolutions, said the additional time is necessary for the intensified delivery of social services and infrastructure investment, which have already commenced but must be much further realized.
This would be the third extension for the Mount Salem Zone, the first ZOSO which become operational on September 1, 2017, while it will be the second extension for Denham Town.
The zones were established under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act, which was passed in Parliament last year.
The law seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social intervention. Under the legislation, security forces have special powers, including to search places, vehicles or persons with or without a warrant.
Prime Minister Holness said the implementation of the zones has been justified, and the results speak for themselves.
“We accepted from the onset that achievements in these areas could not be realized in the limited period allowed by the legislation. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the Government’s resolve to continue and extend the zones of special operations represents an important pillar (among other factors) to a long-term approach to crime. It is not a quick fix,” he emphasized.
He added that the decision to continue the extension is also justified, given that there has been no report of murder or gang-related serious crimes in either of these two communities since their respective periods of declaration.
“Likewise, there has been no report of abuse by State actors. Moving forward, the security forces are expected to maintain an effective presence to facilitate the social-intervention work, which is already under way. These efforts have already begun to yield important results and have largely been supported by the community,” he said.