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JIS News

Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertel Moore, says the State of Public Emergency (SOE) declared in Westmoreland is a welcome move for persons living in the parish.

“I and the wider community (of Westmoreland) appreciate it and hope it is carried out correctly. I also hope that they confiscate a lot of weapons during the SOE,” the Mayor told JIS News.

The Mayor was reacting to the announcement made today (April 30), by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, declaring States of Public Emergency (SOEs) in the parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Councillor Moore said he hopes that one of the outcomes from the SOE in the parish will be the implementation of more social programmes that will provide an outlet for the youth of the parish to indulge in more positive activities.

“I know idle hands bring trouble, and if we can find something for the young people to do, I think we will be able to cut crime and violence (in the parish) to a certain extent. That is something that we need to look at. It is important that we find a way to get them occupied,” the Mayor emphasised.

The SOE will give the security forces temporary additional powers, including powers of search, arrest and detention.

During the SOEs, the security forces will have the power to search, curtail operating hours of business, restrict access to places and detain persons without a warrant.

A State of Public Emergency was first declared in St. James on January 18, 2018 by the Prime Minister. It ended on January 31, 2019.