Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says that the Administration is committed to driving down crime by using “very effective” measures at its disposal, such as the States of Public Emergency (SOEs).
Mr. Holmes pointed out that the SOEs are “not meant to be the silver bullet”, noting that the measures cannot replace conventional policing, but serve as a tool “to attenuate the situation to bring it to heel to allow conventional policing to work”.
“I don’t think the country should be deprived of the use of these tools, when they are clearly defined as to how they should be used and especially when it is clear that this Government is making every effort to ensure that the rights of citizens are protected,” he said.
The Prime Minister was contributing to the debate in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday (November 23), on two Resolutions to extend the recently declared SOEs, until February 12, 2022.
The resolutions, which were approved, are the Emergency Powers (Parishes of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021, and the Emergency Powers (Specified Areas in the Parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021.
The SOEs, which were announced by the Prime Minister on November 14, are currently in effect in St. Andrew South, Kingston West, Kingston Central, and Kingston East in the Corporate Area, and St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the security measures have proven to be effective in reducing murders in the communities in which they have been implemented.
Citing statistics from the previous implementation of SOEs in 2018, the Prime Minister said that the parish of St. James recorded a 70 per cent drop in the murder rate for the period January 18, 2018 to January 31, 2019 and for the tri-parish of St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover, the reduction was 25 per cent from April 30, 2019 to August 17, 2020.
For St. Andrew South, there was a three per cent reduction in murders from July 7, 2019 to August 17, 2020; for Kingston East, there was a 37 per cent decline from January 26, 2019 to August 17, 2020; in Central Kingston, from June 14 to August 17, 2020, there was a 38 per cent reduction, and a 25 per cent decline in Kingston West for the similar period.
For the current iteration, the Prime Minister noted that there is already a trending down of murders in the Corporate Area police divisions.
He informed that for the first 10 days of the SOE, four murders were recorded in St. Andrew South, Kingston West, Kingston Central, and Kingston East, which is a major reduction over the 14 murders for the 10 days before implementation of the security measures.
The tri-parish of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover, however, saw an increase from seven to 10.
“So overall… the murders have reduced by seven in the first 10 days compared to the 10 days prior to the calling of the SOEs,” Mr. Holness said.
He noted that all other serious crimes for the period have been reduced, noting that, overall, shootings have recorded a reduction of 1.8 per cent; rape, a reduction of 25.2 per cent; robbery, a reduction of 27 per cent and break-ins, a reduction in 15.2 per cent.