Restoring Trust and Confidence Key Element for Success of ZOSOs – PM

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), addresses senior members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) at a special meeting held at the Police Officers’ Club in Kingston on August 23.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says restoring the trust and confidence of citizens will be a key element in achieving success in the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs).
  • He said that the security forces can ensure the cooperation of citizens by not infringing on their rights, which is stipulated in the legislation governing the operation of the zones – the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.
  • Passed in Parliament recently, the legislation seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social-intervention initiatives.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says restoring the trust and confidence of citizens will be a key element in achieving success in the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs).

He noted that in gaining their trust, citizens will be more inclined to assist the security forces in their bid to rid communities of criminal elements.

“Your job is to convert the citizens into your crime-fighting allies,” the Prime Minister told senior officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) at a special meeting, held at the Police Officers’ Club in Kingston, on August 23.

He said that the security forces can ensure the cooperation of citizens by not infringing on their rights, which is stipulated in the legislation governing the operation of the zones – the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.

Passed in Parliament recently, the legislation seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social-intervention initiatives.

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

“The idea behind the zones is not to suspend the rights of citizens in order to fight crime,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Holness assured that the ZOSOs will be a long-term commitment by the Government of Jamaica to restore the rule of law in a geographically defined area seriously affected by crime.

“This is not a one-week or two-week deployment. It’s a long-term deployment, and we are not going to call off a zone until we are satisfied that the elements that created the problem have been displaced and would not be able to return and set up back their operation,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister reminded that, importantly, citizens will benefit from social-intervention services following the various operations.

“We have reserved some resources to immediately start work in those communities and (the social-intervention committee) would come into the area, start their interaction with the community (and) start looking at the needs that are priorities,” he noted.

He pointed out that the team will, over time, work to build the capacity of the targeted communities through several initiatives that could involve repairing a main road to give easy access to citizens and security, zinc-fence removal, titling and others.

In the meantime, Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, said the new legislation guiding how the zones operate will be groundbreaking in changing how these types of operations are carried out.

“We have had, in the past, many interventions of clearing communities, only to see them go back to where they were after a short time. Our Prime Minister is insistent that there has to be a change in how we treat with these operations, if we are to make a long-lasting effect on the crime situation in Jamaica,” he said.

For his part, Commissioner of Police, George Quallo, gave the JCF’s commitment to work with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) towards achieving the desired outcomes of the undertaking.

The Prime Minister can only declare an area a zone of special operations after the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commissioner of Police, as members of the National Security Council, have advised him so to do in writing.

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