Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is seeking to amend The Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act to make it more robust, applicable and accountable.
The Prime Minister made the disclosure during a virtual press briefing on Wednesday (July 1), where he announced a Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) for the Greenwich Town community in South West St. Andrew.
Mr. Holness said that the declaration of the first ZOSO on September 1, 2017 was a “landmark event in the history of Jamaica, and this experience has allowed us enough time to engage in a process of review and assessment”.
“This process has now allowed me to deliver on a position I had previously outlined in 2018. I have now guided members of the National Security Council to prepare the proposed amendments, which will build on the lessons from the first two zones, through a more robust framework for implementation and accountability, including targeting of resources and building capacity, which will be in place going forward,” the Prime Minister informed.
He said that the country has had positive results from the ZOSOs and there are plans to declare at least two more this year, for which resources have been dedicated.
“We actually should have declared them from as early as April, but because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we have had to delay.
“So we are now getting back on track, and with more ZOSOs in place we really need to have a comprehensive piece of legislation, so there will be amendments proposed,” he noted further.
Mr. Holness said that the Government remains determined and committed to pursuing measures and strategies that will establish stability and long-lasting transformational results in Jamaica’s most vulnerable communities.
“Criminals have created enterprises, with the gang culture becoming pervasive. They continue to place communities in an environment of fear, control and intimidation. This has adversely impacted on investment, business development and economic growth,” he noted.
“The aim must be to transform Jamaica in a decisive way. The low-trust culture, characterised by high levels of aggression and violence as a way to resolve conflict, must be eliminated,” the Prime Minister said.