KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday January 4, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrew Holness is reassuring the Jamaican public that Plan Secure Jamaica is in full effect.
He declared that the plans to reclaim control of Jamaica’s security and safety followed a series of intense consultations with security experts and stakeholders.
Holness underscored that two critical issues – Plan Secure Jamaica and the continuation of security arrangements – were addressed during the two days of consultations with security chiefs.
“The plans will obviously include reconfiguration of the security deployment but it will ensure that presence is maintained. It will ensure that there are operations undertaken within the context of regular policing and it will ensure that the public will continue to have a sense of safety and security particularly in those areas that have been badly affected by violence,” he said.
Plan Secure Jamaica is a whole government plan which focuses effort on 10 strategic subject areas. It was tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in late 2016 and it was outlined in his budget presentation in 2017/2018.
Noting his understanding of public concern about the modus operandi following the expiration of the various States of Emergency (SOEs), the Prime Minister reiterated his hope that the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) would reconsider its position not to support extending the security measure.
“Hopefully we can reach to some understanding that would make the tools of the State of Public Emergency continue to be available for the benefit of the people of Jamaica,” Holness said.
“We have lost an important tool, but we have not lost our motivation. The chiefs have met and they have committed to me and they will commit to the nation, to do as best as they can, using the regular policing powers. The country should note and bear in mind that we are not trying to use extraordinary powers as an excuse for not using regular policing powers. We’re not looking for an easy way out.”
In the meantime, Colonel Roderick Williams from the Jamaica Defence Force has been assigned to coordinate the intensified implementation phase of Plan Secure Jamaica within the Office of the National Adviser (NSA).
Last December, the PNP voted against extending the SOEs in several areas, even as Prime Minister Holness reporting that there had been a 20 per cent reduction in murders across the island since the measures had gone into effect.
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips had disagreed that the SOEs were vital and suggested that they could actually be unconstitutional. He noted that only four per cent of the nearly 4,000 people detained by the security forces had been charged with any serious crimes.
Holness and Dr Phillips on Wednesday held private discussions on security and crime management and agreed that a meeting of teams from the Government and Opposition will take place next Monday. They also agreed that, at that meeting, a date would be set for a meeting with other stakeholders.