Careful Intelligence and Planning will Determine Next Zone – Prime Minister

Photo: Office off the Prime Minister Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), is briefed on activities within the Mount Salem Zone of Special Operations in St. James by Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Major Godfrey Sterling (right), during a tour of the community on Sunday, September 3. Major Sterling is jointly in charge of operations in the Zone with Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Superintendent, Kirk Ricketts. Accompanying the Prime Minister (from left) are Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade; Attorney-General and Member of Parliament for West Central St. James where Mount Salem is located, Hon. Marlene Malahoo-Forte; National Security Advisor, Major General Antony Anderson; and National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the next zone of special operations will be declared based on careful intelligence and planning.
  • Mr. Holness, who was speaking at a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Western Region in Montego Bay, on September 3, said while it makes sense to move into other violence-prone areas in St. James once Mount Salem is cleared, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration.
  • The Prime Minister said that while he understands that the appetite is high for getting rid of the criminal elements all at once, the reality is that it has to be done in a highly coordinated and realistic way.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the next zone of special operations will be declared based on careful intelligence and planning.

Mr. Holness, who was speaking at a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Western Region in Montego Bay, on September 3, said while it makes sense to move into other violence-prone areas in St. James once Mount Salem is cleared, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration.

The first zone of special operations was declared in Mount Salem on September 1 by the Prime Minister.

“I can understand that the public is anxious to see movement that is decisive and rolling through. However, I want the public to also appreciate the incredible amount of planning, logistics and resources that go into making a zone operational,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that while he understands that the appetite is high for getting rid of the criminal elements all at once, the reality is that it has to be done in a highly coordinated and realistic way.

“While we are doing it, we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew. This is the first zone, and we want to make sure it sets the standard for other zones to come,” he added.

The Prime Minister, who also toured sections of Mount Salem, said he was encouraged by the reaction he got on the ground, where residents appear overwhelmingly in favour of the presence of the security forces.

“What I have been getting from my interaction with the residents is that they have bought into what we are doing and want to see their community rid of criminal activities,” Mr. Holness said.

“Like all law-abiding citizens, they want what we all want, and that is communities that are safe and where our children can go to school in peace to learn and become good citizens.” He added.

Mount Salem and its environs were declared the first zone of special operations under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.

The law seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social-intervention initiatives.

The security operations in Mount Salem will last for 60 days.

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