The Jamaican government has announced a state of emergency in the regions of Western Parishes and sections of the Corporate Area amid the increasing crime on the island. The SOE came into effect from Sunday.
SOE will cover St James, Westmoreland, Hanover areas of the Western parishes and St Andrew North, Kingston Western, Kingston Central and Kingston Eastern police divisions in the corporate areas. These areas are witnessing critical high violence and murder rate from past few weeks.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during the press conference, noted that the decision had been taken on the recommendation of the security heads of the Jamaica Defence Forces and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
He asserted that the crime rate is increasing at an extensive scale threatening public safety, particularly in these communities where the government has imposed a state of emergency, citing that, “Every Jamaican would have recognised that the nature and frequency of the violence have evolved to a level of barbarity and a level of savagery; it is almost a competition for cruelty, the worst of the worst“.
He then added that his administration would continue to take strict actions against crime and violence.
In the meantime, the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of National Security – Dr Horace Chang, stated, “We will continue to invest strategically in Jamaica’s security response to crime. That is our commitment to the people of Jamaica, and the residents in the affected communities, in particular“.
The Minister added that SOE is a legitimate security measure that will have an immediate impact on criminal violence, noting that it is a strategic step which will save the lives of Jamaicans while rapidly reducing the cases of homicides.
While, the Commissioner of Police – Major General Antony Anderson, highlighted that Jamaica is having a murder rate three times more than its regional average and eight times the global average.