KINGSTON, Jamaica: January 9, 2022 - The Opposition PNP has charged prime minister Andrew Holness with gross dishonesty and lieing to the public in relation any agreement with the PNP for the use of the States of Emergency as a crime fighting tool.
A press release from Opposition Spokesman on National Security Peter Bunting notes that "the Opposition is willing to cooperate and make constructive recommendations to help the government combat crime.
This is most recently evidenced as the Government finally heeded our repeated calls for a ZOSO in Central Kingston this morning."
However, it is difficult to effectively cooperate with an administration as insincere and fundamentally dishonest as this Holness led JLP administration is proving itself to be," Bunting said.
"from media reports that the Prime Minister continues to blatantly lie to the public in his assertion made at this morning’s media conference that “There has been an agreement with the Opposition that where the murder rate was 32 per 100,000 then the use of the States of Emergency (SOEs) would be considered reasonable and justified.”
"The Government continues gaslighting the public on this issue even though the Prime Minister and his Ministers (Chang & Samuda) know it to be false, Bunting said.
As recently as November 2021, this falsehood was raised in a CMOC email dialogue where it was asserted that the following statement in the Crime Consensus document meant that the Opposition agreed to the use of SOEs –
We will support the use of the military, as permitted by law, in geographic areas where the homicide rate is above 32 per 100,000 (i.e. 2 times regional average)…
As a member of CMOC, and as Opposition Spokesman on National Security, I responded:
…this statement conflates the “use of the military” with the declaration of an SOE. This is a perpetuation of a falsehood, and the Opposition wishes to distance itself from any such statement proposed to be made by the CMOC, and would ask that this position be made clear in the release [by CMOC].
The Opposition has repeatedly stated that it will not be supporting an unlawful declaration of an SOE, or the unlawful use of the military.
The Chairman of CMOC, Mr. Lloyd Distant, clarified the issue with the following response:
“The Consensus explicitly spoke to “...use of the military, as permitted by law,…..” because we did not have fulsome agreement from all the parties on the specific use of the SoE’s. The phrase “permitted by law” recognized that it is Parliament’s responsibility to determine what would be lawful and best in each instance – the stakeholders did not seek to direct or dictate on the specifics of SoE’s vs ZOSO’s in any way.”
Mr. Distant further stated “The Opposition Spokesman at the time made it very clear that the Opposition was not in favor of the continued use of SoE’s.’