JAMAICA | PSOJ’s Keith Duncan wants Gov't and Opposition to meet over the country's murder rate.

JAMAICA | PSOJ’s Keith Duncan wants Gov't and Opposition to meet over the country's murder rate.

KINGSTON,  Jamaica January 24, 2022 - With nearly one hundred persons murdered since the start of the year, President of the Private Sector Organization of  Jamaica (PSOJ) Keith Duncan, is of the opinion that the reinstatement of States of Emergency as a crime fighting tool will stop the spate of murders that have been taking place islandwide.

The PSOJ President believes that violent gangs are acting with impunity because there isn't a powerful response from the government. He is of the view that the situation is at crisis level and warrants the use of  states of  emergency.

PSOJ President Keith Duncan wants implementation of States of Emergency to curtail the spate of murders taking place in JamaicaPSOJ President Keith Duncan wants implementation of States of Emergency to curtail the spate of murders taking place in JamaicaSpeaking in an interview with Radio Jamaica news, Duncan said: “The national consensus on crime that we have as a country with the opposition, the government of Jamaica and civil society, have agreed that we can use the military and we can also have the use of tribunals which are equal to states of emergency. 

“We are asking the government and the opposition to sit at the table and to work out this emergency response, and to work through the use of SOEs in this crisis that we are now facing.

“There were new regulations drafted around the emergency powers regulations, which allow for  seven days review of detentions, and also a maximum 90 day detention before the detainee has to be released.We believe some of the concerns have been met,” the PSOJ President said.

In light of this, Duncan is calling for the government and opposition to meet urgently and work out a compromise for the implementation of  states of  emergency amid the non-stop murders since the start  of  the year.

Nearly one hundred people have been murdered since January 1.

The government was forced to discontinue states of  emergency in seven police divisions in November after it failed to get the opposition's backing in the Senate.

The opposition has stressed that it believes the way the government is using the emergency powers is unconstitutional in the manner in which scores of youth are rounded up by the security forces and placed in detention and without any charge for long periods of time without any recourse to the courts.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared two new zones of  special operations since the start of  the year, but has expressed doubt that they can address the current crime wave.

Opposition spokesman on national security, Senator Peter Bunting Opposition fully supports the deployment of military personnel to assist the police whenever there is a level of violence that requires saturation policing as a response.Opposition spokesman on national security, Senator Peter Bunting Opposition fully supports the deployment of military personnel to assist the police whenever there is a level of violence that requires saturation policing as a response.Opposition Shadow Minister of National Security, Senator Peter Bunting late last year, had urged the Government to abandon its use of States of Emergency (SOEs) as a routine crime fighting measure in favour of the establishment of Zones of Special Operations in all hot spots across Jamaica where violent crime is getting progressively worse. 

Senator Bunting reiterated that, “This Government’s serial use of States of Emergency as a crime fighting tool is both unconstitutional and ineffective,” pointing out that the opposition PNP is committed to supporting law enforcement tactics that save lives and promote the preservation of the rights and liberties of our people.” 

Bunting says “the Opposition fully supports the deployment of military personnel to assist the police whenever there is a level of violence that requires saturation policing as a response. This is however already provided for in ordinary legislation and does not require the declaration of a State of Emergency.”

He said  instead of providing more police personnel, the government had only provided military personnel who are limited to patrol and man checkpoints.” It is important to note that even during SOEs soldiers cannot do the investigative work necessary to get criminal convictions, Bunting pointed out.

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