State of Emergency (SOE) in St Catherine, Jamaica, to end on Friday

By Rumi Samuel Published on June 30, 2022
State of Emergency (SOE) in St Catherine, Jamaica, to end on Friday

The State of Public Emergency (SOE) imposed in St. Catherine, Jamaica, following the recent flare-up of violence, will end on Friday, July 1.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, announced in the House of Representatives on June 28.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the enhanced security measure on June 17 following a series of murders linked to gangs.

Dr Chang told the House that the crime situation in St. Catherine, which necessitated the SOE, has improved significantly but assured that the security forces would continue to maintain a presence in the parish.

“They will naturally make changes in the strategy and the deployment, and we expect to maintain the status quo, which is the stability gained over the last 14 days,” he noted.

Dr Chang said the declaration of the SOE in St. Catherine has allowed the security forces to bring the area under some level of control but noted that if there is any change in the situation, “we will advise the nation as to what further steps can be taken and if it [the parish] needs to be returned to a SOE”.

“But at this point, we will not ask for an extension. We will allow the current 14 days to expire, and the security forces have pledged to use whatever current tools they have and to make strategic deployment to maintain the status quo,” he said.

The People’s National Party (PNP) had also stated that it was not in support of the regulations proposed under the SOE.

Earlier this week, the party wrote to the attorney general, outlining its concerns with the measure, which included the circumstances under which persons can be detained, the length of detentions, the involuntary fingerprinting of persons and the retention of those fingerprints after release.

According to the party leader Mark Golding, the regulations outlined by the government were not compliant with the country’s constitution. Golding said he welcomed the decision not to extend the SOE under the current rules.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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