Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips in his party’s defense of their decision to vote against the extensions, said the island does not ‘need a State of Emergency to feel safe’.
Dr Phillips said ‘not one police officer or military personnel has to be moved from St James after expiration of the SOE’, adding that the ‘Police can still curfew, cordon, search and arrest suspects’.’The only difference is they will not be able to detain indiscriminately and indefinitely’.
And the General Secretary of the Peoples National Party (PNP) Julian Robinson in a statement on Wednesday, also outlined why the opposition voted against the security measures.
Robinson said any further extension of the SOEs would have been unconstitutional as the conditions for an SOE no longer exist
He added that outside of the 20 detainees being held without charge currently, everything else can be done under Section 50 of the JCF Act.
Under SOE, less than 4% detained have been charged. According to data 3687 were detained with 139 persons being charged. He said Poor people’s rights are being ignored.
Robinson further stated that other parishes like Westmoreland, Hanover, and Clarendon have much higher murder rates so it is unfair and unnecessary to keep the focus on parishes which have already dramatically improved.
Meanwhile, the Parliament has voted to extend Zone of Special Operations now underway in Mount Salem.
In the latest figures from the Jamaica Constabulary Force there was a 22% reduction in the number of serious crimes since the implementation of the State of Emergencies.
St. James recorded a 70% reduction in serious and violent crime, Kingston Central recorded a 44.4%reduction and St. Catherine North recorded a 21.7 % reduction in murders between January 1, 2018 and December 1, 2018
The opposition’s vote to discontinue the extension of the SOEs in St James, St. Catherine North, Kingston Central, Kingston western and St Andrew South Police Divisions, effectively means the SOEs will end by the 31st of January 2019