JIS News

A resolution to extend the State of Emergency, which has been in effect since May 23, was not approved in the House of Representatives Tuesday (July 20).
The resolution, brought by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, sought to extend the state of emergency in the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine to August 21, 2010.
The resolution needed 31 votes for approval, but with six Government members absent when it was put to a vote, the 25 Government MPs who voted in favour was not enough, as the 18 Opposition members present abstained.
Opening the Debate, Mr. Golding had also revealed that the Government was considering extending the state of emergency to Clarendon. This was based on police intelligence indicating that, as the operations are being carried out in the Corporate Area, persons who may have been involved in criminal violence in the Corporate Area were taking refuge in other parts of the island.
Mr. Golding also stated that he wished to be very cautious “that we don’t become complacent with the encouraging results that we have been seeing,” while adding that there was a lot of work to be done in fighting crime and violence in the country.
From January to May this year, there were 750 murders committed in Jamaica, an average of 147 murders per month. However since the emergency operations, there were 92 murders in June and 45 murders in July to date.
“I caution that these are figures that must come down even further, which means that the efforts and the measures that have been used to bring about this reduction are measures that need to be sustained,” Mr. Golding said.
Opposition Spokesperson on National Security, Peter Bunting, acknowledged that the security forces, over the last two months have, in general, acted with professionalism and restraint. However, he argued that there was no need for an extension of the state of emergency to continue the increased presence of the security forces, particularly in volatile areas, and the high intensity of curfews, cordon and search operations islandwide. He said, this could be done under the Constabulary Force Act.

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