“The commitment that I want to echo to the citizens of this parish of St. James, who have seen the worth and value of this State of [Public] Emergency [is that], we are prepared to commit ourselves to the process of not allowing this parish to go back to [what it was], and I say to the Government and the people of St. James, they have in us a partner,” Mayor Davis declared.
Davis, who was addressing a recent sitting of the municipal body, pledged to support any additional measures that will be put in place to ensure the maintenance of law and order in the parish.
“We are prepared, as a municipality and as councillors, to support and continue to support the measures that will be taken by this administration. There’s one thing I can assure you – that we won’t throw up our hands in the air. We will be forthright and we will be forceful,” he said.
Following a lengthy debate during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday December 11, the Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to end the enhanced security measures introduced by the Government since January 2018 in response to increased criminal activities in several communities.
The Opposition is maintaining that any extension of the States of Emergency in current circumstances would be unconstitutional and illegal," pointing out that "most of the powers available under a State of Emergency are permitted under other legislation, which will allow for the implementation of solutions beyond usual law enforcement measures."
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Dr. Phillips informed that he and his team "have met with several stakeholders including private sector leaders, small business operators, church leaders,attorneys from western Jamaica and civil society. We have not found that there is an overwhelming consensus among said stakeholders that the use of emergency powers is the only way to control criminal activity," Dr. Phillips said.
He said the Opposition responsibly exercised its constitutional duty to ensure that all actions of the government conform to the rule of law. He said the Opposition has always been and will remain firmly committed to the fight against criminals, but in that pursuit the innocent must be protected.
The Opposition Leader said the right to life is uppermost in our focus and the framers of our constitution understood that such an objective is not incompatible with fairness for all. “We must therefore resolutely punish only the guilty and protect the innocent from abuse” he said.
This will result in the SOE in St. James ending on January 31, 2019.
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