The State of Emergency, which has been in effect in Kingston and St. Andrew since May 23, has been extended until July 22, and expanded to include the parish of St. Catherine.
Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding
This was disclosed by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, in the House of Representatives, Tuesday (June 22). The expanded state of emergency took effect in St. Catherine as of midnight, Tuesday.
Mr. Golding said that the efforts that are being made and the operations that are being carried out must be continued.
“The pressure on the criminal forces in the country, the efforts to recover illegal firearms, is not something that we can afford to slacken in any way. That pressure can be kept up, one month is not sufficient to achieve the results that are required,” Mr. Golding said.
Since the limited state of emergency started, the bodies of 73 civilians have been recovered and, so far, 56 of them have been identified. Also, the police have seized 87 illegal guns, 14 hand grenades and nearly 14,000 rounds of assorted ammunition found. Mr. Golding stated that the situation in West Kingston has now been brought under control, and there have been no reports of any exchange of gunfire in recent times.
A strong police military presence is being maintained and curfew conditions exist from 6:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m. A police post has now been established in Tivoli Gardens, as well.
Opposition Spokesperson on Security, Peter Bunting, said his side gives “critical and cautious” support to the extension of the state of emergency for another 30 days.
“We do this in recognition that, while the conditions no longer exist, it would only be fair to give the security forces time to complete the operation that they started and we would not want to prematurely bring an end to the operation,” Mr. Bunting said. A state of public emergency, limited to the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, was declared on Sunday, May 23, a day before a police/military incursion into West Kingston primarily in search of Christopher Coke, who is wanted in the United States on criminal charges.
The Cabinet had taken the decision to advise the Governor-General to issue a Proclamation, pursuant to Section 26 of the Constitution, due to unrest in the Corporate Area triggered by the extradition issue.