Rules of Engagement Will Not Be Relaxed in Any Particular Area – PM

Photo: Garwin Davis Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, interacts with residents during a tour of sections of Montego Bay on January 27. At centre is Public Defender, Arlene Harrison Henry.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the security forces in St. James will not relax the rules of engagement in any particular area while enforcing them in others.
  • “The State of (Public) Emergency was called to create an environment that is safe and secure for everyone; for Jamaican citizens first and foremost, and for our guests who come here. We wouldn’t want, in any way, to deprive locals of their ability to have fun while we give a privilege to another set,” he emphasised.
  • Mr. Holness pointed out that the joint command will be making an announcement very soon, “based on their assessment”, if there is a justifiable reason for a relaxation of some of the restrictions that are currently in place.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the security forces in St. James will not relax the rules of engagement in any particular area while enforcing them in others.

Mr. Holness, who was addressing the media following a tour of sections of Montego Bay in the parish on January 27, said while the tourism sector has to be protected, it will not be a case where there will be any glaring double standards in how persons are treated.

He was responding to questions as to whether the security forces would be willing to extend the closing hours for businesses in certain areas to accommodate tourists.

“The State of (Public) Emergency was called to create an environment that is safe and secure for everyone; for Jamaican citizens first and foremost, and for our guests who come here. We wouldn’t want, in any way, to deprive locals of their ability to have fun while we give a privilege to another set,” he emphasised.

Mr. Holness added that the security forces have been very conscious as it relates to the issue of equity and fairness, “and also the need to administer the law right across the board”.

“If there is going to be a relaxation, then it will be strategically done, so that there is equity,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Holness pointed out that the joint command will be making an announcement very soon, “based on their assessment”, if there is a justifiable reason for a relaxation of some of the restrictions that are currently in place.

The Prime Minister declared a State of Public Emergency in the parish of St. James on January 18.

The Constitution provides that a period of public emergency can be declared by a Proclamation if the Governor-General is satisfied that action has been taken or is immediately threatened by any person or body of persons in such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to be likely to endanger public safety.

Mr. Holness reiterated that the endgame is to see the guns off the streets and the return of an environment where persons can go about their business free from fear.

“This is a very important moment in St. James and the tourism capital of Montego Bay where the people can make a huge difference,” the Prime Minister said.

“Information is vital to the overall success of the operations on the ground. If you know where the guns are, please pass on the information to your local police officer or call Crime Stop. If you are for safer communities… if you are for law and order, then do not hesitate to provide information. We need your help,” the Prime Minister said.

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