Black Immigrant Daily News
With crime across the country, especially in Manchester, a concern for the Government, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hinted that more states of emergency (SOEs) could be on the horizon.
While addressing the handing over of a house under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP) in Knockpatrick, Manchester on Friday, Holness said he will “continue to hold out hope that there can be a bipartisan approach to solving crime”.
However, he noted that while there is a current divide on how to treat crime, criminals “relish” whenever there is that scenario, and continue their organised criminal activities.
“They’re robbing and killing and maiming innocent people,” Holness said of the acts of hoodlums.
“We can’t stop our efforts to protect you; we have to keep on persevering.
“So, I want to give you the assurance that when the SOEs expire, the Government will seriously and carefully consider the application of a new state of emergency to ensure that we can save more lives,” he promised.
Choruses of “Amen” subsequently echoed from the audience gathered for the ceremony in Knockpatrick, seemingly signalling their agreement with the prime minister’s assurances.
Continuing, Holness said: “We want you to be able to enjoy the Christmas season, and we want to see you in 2023, so we are going to do everything possible to ensure that.”
Part of the country’s crime-fighting toolkit, SOEs are currently imposed in St Ann, Clarendon, St Catherine, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and specified areas of Kingston and St Andrew.
They are expected to expire on Monday, December 19, having been brought into effect on December 6.
Holness on Friday also mentioned the relative increase in crime in Manchester, including several robberies and a double murder in Porus in recent weeks.
He pointed to organised criminal gangs operating right across Jamaica.
Additionally, he noted that as Christmas approaches, “intelligence is showing that these activities are increasing, which is why we decided to include the parish of Manchester in our security operations”.
Holness stated that he was aware that the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has “increased its presence and its operations” in Manchester, particularly Mandeville, since the upsurge in violence.
“I want to make it clear to the criminals that we are going to be going full force against them,” he warned.
“… And I want to give the law-abiding, peaceful citizens of Manchester the assurance that we are going to keep you safe and secure, particularly in this Christmas season,” declared Holness.