JP Pleased With Professionalism of Security Forces in ZOSO

Photo: JIS Photographer Justice of the Peace (JP) in St. James, Noel Hastings, says the security forces have displayed professionalism while operating in the Mount Salem Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO).

Story Highlights

  • Justice of the Peace (JP) in the parish of St. James, Noel Hastings, says he is pleased with the conduct of the joint security forces in the Mount Salem Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO), noting that the residents’ rights are being respected.
  • The law establishes a strict accountability framework to ensure that the human rights of citizens are observed and that the security forces account for their actions within the zones.
  • The Acting Custos is also voicing support for the Government’s move to establish the ZOSOs in order to address crime and violence and ensure that social intervention and development initiatives are put in place.

Justice of the Peace (JP) in the parish of St. James, Noel Hastings, says he is pleased with the conduct of the joint security forces in the Mount Salem Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO), noting that the residents’ rights are being respected.

Mr. Hastings tells JIS News that the members have been operating in a professional manner.

“I personally drove through the Zone. Initially, it was a little tense but after realising it would continue, the people started to feel more comfortable (around the security forces). They are doing a good job,” he tells JIS News.

Mr. Hastings adds that he has seen where the rights of the citizens are being safeguarded.  Residents report that there have been no abuses and the security personnel are polite and respectful.

Protection of human rights has been built into the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.

The law establishes a strict accountability framework to ensure that the human rights of citizens are observed and that the security forces account for their actions within the zones.

National Security Advisor, Major General Antony Anderson, tells JIS News that the law requires selection of the commanders on the ground, and there is a requirement for them to receive training in human rights, the use of force and community development initiatives.

“The joint forces have received training and that is ongoing to prepare people to operate within the zones,” he notes.

JPs play a critical role in ensuring that the rights of citizens are observed in the zones.  It is their responsibility to be present when the security forces are conducting searches.

 

In addition, persons detained or arrested must immediately be brought before a JP, who will determine whether there are reasonable grounds for the arrest or detention.

If the JP is satisfied that the arrest or detention is justified, the person shall be remanded in custody for not more than 24 hours, after which he must be brought before the judge of a parish court.

If the JP is not satisfied that the arrest or detention is justified, “he shall order that the person be released forthwith”.

During arrest or detention, a person has the right to be visited by a spouse, partner, family member, religious counsellor, medical practitioner and attorney-at-law.

Director and Principal of the Justice Training Institute (JTI), Karen Campbell-Bascoe tells JIS News that JPs undergo training in human rights and the rights of the Jamaican citizen through the qualifying and specialised training programme offered by the entity.

She notes that the training is ongoing so that JPs can fully understand their roles in the ZOSOs.

Acting Custos of St. James, Claudette Bryan, who rosters the JPs, tells JIS News that they are keen to serve in the Mount Salem ZOSO.

“We do have enough JPs, who have offered themselves willingly to serve,” she says.

“We have approximately 674 JPs (in the parish)…We do not have a problem. I have more than enough JPs who I can roster,” she stresses.

The Acting Custos is also voicing support for the Government’s move to establish the ZOSOs in order to address crime and violence and ensure that social intervention and development initiatives are put in place.

“Anything that can be done or tried to bring this (crime) under control, I support it,” she says.

 

Ms. Bryan also hails the professionalism of members of the joint forces, which she describes as “excellent”.

JIS Social