State of Emergency Declared in Southeastern Jamaican Parish

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) points to crime data, at a press conference at Jamaica House to announce a State of Public Emergency for the St. Andrew South police division. Standing beside him are Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang (centre) and Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade. (Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday July 8, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday declared a State of Public Emergency (SOE) for South St Andrew, in the southeast of the country, after what he said was “careful consideration and review of the current crime situation.”

St Andrew South has recorded the highest number of murders since the start of the year with 94 cases. That figure is 15 more than the 79 murders recorded for the corresponding period last year.

Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, noted that the St. Andrew South division is experiencing “a high level of violent crimes.”

“The upswing in the last two months is at a scale and of a nature such that it greatly endangers public safety. Already, since the start of 2019, the division has recorded the highest number of murders, 94, and shootings 98, among police divisions in Jamaica,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, said security personnel from the JDF and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were deployed to the division at dawn yesterday.

He appealed for members of the public, who traverse the areas of the SOE, to cooperate with the police officers and soldiers at the various check points.

“The State of Emergency will give the security forces temporary additional powers of search, arrest and detention. We believe that this is necessary in order to give the security forces the necessary space to carry out the operational tasks that will be required to help bring a sense of normality to the communities affected,” he said.

The security forces are encouraging members of the public to use the tip lines to report gang and other criminal activity in their communities.

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