Prime Minister Andrew Holness told Parliament last Tuesday, that he wants to use states of emergency for the next five to seven years with the aim of reducing murders to 500 per year.
However, speaking in the Senate Friday afternoon, Senator Donna Scott Mottley said the measure is being used in breach of the constitution.
"One of the things that I think needs to be done is that this matter needs to be taken out of partisan political discussions, and perhaps it is an urgent matter on which the court will have to rule."
You see Mr. president, Sir Alexander Bustamante used this State of Emergency Once; prime minister Michael Manley used it once; prime minister Bruce Golding used it once,” however she said never before had a post-Independence Prime Minister used the measure as an extended crime fighting tool.
She said deliberation on its use needs to go beyond the parliament.
However, Government Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, who led the debate, defended the use of states of emergency.
He said the way the government is using them is different from how they have been used in the past.
"What the Prime Minister and government have put forward is not a state of emergency that can be properly compared as similar to those before it. It is a state of emergency that when seen accurately and within the context of all that has been done to improve it and to establish it, as you rightfully say, as a tool to save lives and a tool that has garnered the support and the confidence of so many of our citizens because of the way that it has been implemented," Senator Charles Jr asserted.
The Senate was debating a motion to extend the state of emergency in western Jamaica.
The government has argued that it is the best tool for curtailing Jamaica's crime problem, is now a national emergency.
The motion was eventually passed by senators.
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