JAMAICA | Holness Reimposes States of Emergencies in 7 police divisions in Kingston and Western Jamaica

JAMAICA |  Holness Reimposes States of Emergencies in 7 police divisions in Kingston and Western Jamaica

KINGSTON, November 14, 2021 - In response to the spate of murders that have been taking place in  sections of Kingston and Western Jamaica, the Government has imposed a State of Public Emergency (SOE)  in seven police divisions across the island.

western jamaica SOE 713western jamaica SOE 713At a Jamaica House press conference this morning, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that an SOE had been implemented in the police divisions of St James, Westmoreland and Hanover, and in the corporate area in the St Andrew South, the Kingston West, the Kingston Central and the Kingston East Police Divisions.

He was  bolstered at the press conference by  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, Chief of Defence Staff General Rocky Meade and Attorney General Malahoo-Forte.

The Prime Minister Holness said all of these divisions have seen increases ranging from 16 per cent to 57 per cent.

Kingston and St. Andrew SOE Kingston and St. Andrew SOE “All have murder rates per 100,000 in excess of the regional average which is 15 per cent. In fact, the murder rate per 100,000 in these divisions range from a low of approximately 47 per 100,000 to 190 per 100,000.” 

“We have decided to recommend the declaration of SOEs having regard to the increase in murders compared year on year both in the communities in which we have declared them and nationally and these increases we consider to be of an extensive scale such that they threaten public safety,” he added.

 Holness said the Jamaican murder statistics  was more that three times the regional average and eight times the global average.

“We have decided to recommend the declaration of SOEs having regard to the increase in murders compared year on year both in the communities in which we have declared them and nationally and these increases we consider to be of an extensive scale such that they threaten public safety,” he added.

Police Commissioner Major General Antony AndersonPolice Commissioner Major General Antony AndersonPolice commissioner Major General Antony Anderson said Jamaica's murder rate remains in the top 5 of the world.  General Anderson said up to Friday the four divisions in the Corporate Area accounted for 392 murders (32%) of the 1,240 homicides committed in Jamaica.  The three western parishes saw 292 murders or 22% of the national average. He said eleven murders took place over the last 24 hours, five of which were committed in the parish of Westmoreland.

Throughout his presentation, the Prime Minister intimated that the Opposition was totally opposed to the SOE's. However, historically the Opposition PNP had expressed concern over the extremely long periods of time that detainees under the States of Emergency were made to remain in detention without being charged of have their case reviewed.

However, in answer to a reporter at this morning's press conference, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo-Forte pointed out that changes has been made to the Regulations which addressed that concern. The regulations are to be tabled in parliament.

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