Local and overseas media will have direct access to information in the conflict zones in West Kingston, including Tivoli Gardens, as of today (May 27).
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, the Hon. Daryl Vaz, explained that following a meeting with the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), arrangements have been made to allow the press to enter the conflict zone.
Jamaican media personnel tour the streets of Tivoli Gardens, Kingston on Thursday (May 27) secured and directed by members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), for a first hand look at the situation following Monday’s intervention by the security forces in search of Christopher Coke.
The media will also be provided with bulletins three times daily through the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) Media Centre at the Hilton Hotel, New Kingston. The Centre was established Wednesday (May 26) to provide regular updates on the affected areas.
Mr. Vaz made the announcement at a press conference at the Media Centre attended by scores of reporters from the international media, as well as the leadership of the local private sector.
In response to concerns that the social unrest could have a debilitating effect on business development in downtown Kingston, President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), Joseph Matalon, observed that despite the temporary disruption, the action by the security forces could bring crime in downtown Kingston under control.
Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers speaking with residents of Tivoli Gardens, whose building they were guarding during a tour of the violence torn community by the local media on Thursday (May 27).
“The security operation, if successful can, in the long run, bring the crime problem under control and thus provide the opportunity for renewal and a lasting solution to the social and political issues,” Mr. Matalon said.
President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Milton Samuda, reinforced the sentiment, noting that the operation must mark the first step in finding a durable solution, but would need nationwide support.
Residents of Tivoli Gardens stand at their gate, while Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers patrol the street during yesterday’s (May 27) media tour, the first since the security forces entered the community on Monday (May 27).
Giving an update on the ongoing operations, Mr. Vaz disclosed that, so far, some 500 individuals have been detained and that during the past 24 hours, no causalities have been reported.
With respect to the latest casualty figures and the quantities of guns and ammunition recovered, he said that an assessment was underway and the information would be made public, as soon as the report has been presented to the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of Defence.