He noted that he was particularly proud of the security forces for the level of professionalism and constraint displayed, even in the face of provocation.
“The state of emergency is going well. The citizens have been very cooperative with the security forces. The security forces have been executing their duties in a very professional way as they engage the citizens. St James has never been safer and (the Parish) is open for business,” he said.
The minister was speaking with JIS News on January 26, at the Carl Rattray Staff College for Human Resource Development/Training in St Ann.
Montague said the residents are similarly pleased that public order has been restored in the parish.
“People are happy; the silent majority is very happy for what is happening in terms of public order and it also says as Jamaicans, we can abide by the rules and regulations. And I am very proud of my citizens in St James; very proud of the way they have cooperated with the security forces,” he said.
With respect to the deployment of Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers to the streets of Montego Bay, Montague said the presence of the military was reassuring to tourists and, in fact, is no different from what transpires on a daily basis in other major destinations across the world.
“Since 9/11 there is no major tourist destination or city that you visit that you don't find heavily armed police or soldiers. It gives a sense of reassurance to the visitors,” Montague said.
“And therefore, we are happy that the tourists that are there in Montego Bay, are experiencing a safer Montego Bay; feeling that they can move around without any worry, and they are going back into their various countries and communities to let the world know that Jamaica is open for business and Jamaica is safe,” he added.
Meanwhile, Montague said the state of public emergency is not a “cure-all”, for criminal activities in St James, but is a measure, which is being effected to “cauterise the situation”.
He noted that the ongoing operations will allow space for the social agencies to get their jobs done, including extending their services to the most vulnerable citizens.
“This is the breather that we needed to create the space and for the good people to take back Jamaica and I want to just assure everybody that St James is open for business,” Montague said.
- Countries: Jamaica
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