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JAMAICA | N S C Stands by Mount Salem ZOSO Declaration

Featured Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre), is briefed on activities within the Mount Salem Zone of Special Operations in St. James by Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Major Godfrey Sterling (right), during a tour of the community on Sunday. Major Sterling is jointly in charge of operations in the Zone with Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Superintendent, Kirk Ricketts. Accompanying the Prime Minister (from left) are Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade; Attorney-General and Member of Parliament for West Central St. James where Mount Salem is located, Marlene Malahoo-Forte; National Security Advisor, Major General Antony Anderson; and National Security Minister, Robert Montague. Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre), is briefed on activities within the Mount Salem Zone of Special Operations in St. James by Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Major Godfrey Sterling (right), during a tour of the community on Sunday. Major Sterling is jointly in charge of operations in the Zone with Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Superintendent, Kirk Ricketts. Accompanying the Prime Minister (from left) are Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade; Attorney-General and Member of Parliament for West Central St. James where Mount Salem is located, Marlene Malahoo-Forte; National Security Advisor, Major General Antony Anderson; and National Security Minister, Robert Montague.
KINGSTON, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 | The National Security Council (NSC) says despite the error made in the number of murders given as having been committed in the community in 2017, it is satisfied that the decision to declare Mount Salem as the first Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) was justified based on the relevant legal criteria, intelligence, as well as strategic and operational considerations of the Joint Command.

The National Security Council met yesterday to discuss matters related to Zones of Special Operations, including concerns expressed in the media about the declaration of Mount Salem as a Zone.

The NSC noted that at the press conference announcing the first Zone, there was an error made in the number of murders given as having been committed in the community in 2017.

The Council, however, states that this was only a single element of the data provided, and this figure and error would not have changed the recommendation made by the Joint Command.

The JCF has therefore been asked by the NSC to review their systems of data collection and collation to ensure that there are no systemic challenges. The JCF has also been asked to hold the correct Mount Salem Zone murder data until it has completed this process.

It is anticipated that this information will be provided within the next 48 hours.

The NSC wishes to state categorically that it stands by its deliberate process of selection, and reaffirms that the violence in the community and its influence on neighbouring areas, support the original recommendation and decision.

Accordingly, while the NSC is sensitive to the concerns of the community regarding stigmatisation, it does not believe it is acceptable that persons in the community live in fear.

It is, therefore, calling on all law-abiding members of the community to stand with the security forces against criminal elements which cause them and their loved ones to live in fear.

The National Security Council also wishes the public to note that all reports on the ground reflect the maintenance of peace and order within the Mt. Salem Zone of Special Operations, since its declaration.

Last Friday, Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake told journalists at a news conference at Jamaica House that 46 murders were committed in Mount Salem and its environs in 2014. The figure rose to 70 in 2015, a total of 85 in 2016, while 54 were recorded this year so far.

However, since then it emerged that the figure for this year was not correct, resulting in calls from Opposition People's National Party for the Government to justify the decision to establish the zone in Mount Salem and severe criticism from some sections of the society that have embarrassed the Government.

According to reports, figures show that Jamaica recorded one thousand and 47 murders between January 1 and last Sunday.

This is 217 more or a near 26 per cent increase over the same period last year.  
    
St. James recorded 197 murders, followed by Clarendon with 112.  
    
August is the bloodiest month so far this year with 168 murders.
Last modified onThursday, 07 September 2017 00:46
  • Countries: Jamaica