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  • Business and hotel interests in western Jamaica say they are in full support of the declaration of States of Public Emergency (SOEs) in the parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
  • They note that while it is never the most ideal of situations, it would have been impossible to sit idly by and allow the wanton and despicable behaviour of criminal gunmen to continue “and do nothing”.
  • “The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), like the rest of the country, has been informed that SOEs have been declared for the parishes of St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover,” said JHTA President, Omar Robinson, in an interview with JIS News.

Business and hotel interests in western Jamaica say they are in full support of the declaration of States of Public Emergency (SOEs) in the parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.

They note that while it is never the most ideal of situations, it would have been impossible to sit idly by and allow the wanton and despicable behaviour of criminal gunmen to continue “and do nothing”.

“The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), like the rest of the country, has been informed that SOEs have been declared for the parishes of St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover,” said JHTA President, Omar Robinson, in an interview with JIS News.

“While our membership would have preferred not to have to deal with the negative publicity that this measure will cause in the tourism marketplaces, particularly those of the USA, Canada and the UK, we fully understand that this action has been precipitated by the return of an unacceptable level of shootings and murders in western Jamaica,” he said.

Mr. Robinson said to that end, “the JHTA puts its full support behind the Government” in its effort to bring this unacceptable state of affairs under control.

“We also must make it clear that this measure must not be squandered. It is no secret that we, like many other well-thinking Jamaicans, thought the cancellation of the last State of Emergency (in St. James) was premature. So since we are at this place once more, we strongly suggest that the Government and the Opposition must work together so that this initiative, along with other anti-crime measures, will be successful,” he said.

For his part, President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Winston Lawson, said his organisation has found the unequivocal action taken by the Government to cauterise what has been a significantly worrying trend of high crime in St James, “necessary”.

He said that while the Chamber recognises that there will be challenges “for some of our members and the business community”, with respect to constrained business opening hours, “we are of the view that the security forces are now well up the curve with this tool,” adding that consideration should be made for more relaxed opening hours for businesses.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, today (April 30), announced SOEs for Hanover, St. James and Westmoreland, as proclaimed by the Governor-General.