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JAMAICA | Phillips accepts Holness' Invitation to discuss State of Emergency

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Prime Minister Andrew Holness
KINGSTON, Jamaica December 18, 2018 - Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Andrew Holness, seeking a meeting to discuss issues surrounding the States of Emergency before they come to an end next month.
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Opposition leader and PNP President Dr. Peter Phillips says most of the powers available under a State of Emergency are permitted under other legislation.

In his Letter to Dr. Phillips Mr. Holness said he wants to arrive at an agreement with Dr. Phillips which will result in continuation of the security measure.

Mr. Holness said private citizens and civil society have stated that the government and opposition should be united in the fight against crime.

In his response, the Opposition Leader said he, along with his team was willing to meet with the Prime Minister, but pointed out that these discussions should include "other mutually agreed-on stakeholders in the bid to reach a consensus as to solutions to control the monster of crime within the boundaries of our constitution."

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Dr. Phillips informed that he and his team "have met with several stakeholders including private sector leaders, small business operators, church leaders,attorneys from western Jamaica and civil society. We have not found that there is an overwhelming consensus among said stakeholders that the use of emergency powers is the only way to control criminal activity," Dr. Phillips said.

The Opposition Leader pointed out in his letter that his team has "received advice from several constitutional experts that any extension of the States of Emergency in current circumstances would be unconstitutional and illegal."

He added that "most of the powers available under a State of Emergency are permitted under other legislation, which will allow for the implementation of solutions beyond usual law enforcement measures."

Last week Tuesday, opposition members of the House of Representatives voted against continuing the security measure saying an extension would be unconstitutional.

  • Countries: Jamaica

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