Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis, has endorsed the reinstatement of a State of Public Emergency (SOE) for the parish.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday (April 30), that the SOEs for St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland will be in effect for 14 days on a proclamation by the Governor-General.
The Mayor told JIS News that the reinstatement of the SOE comes at a crucial time, and will allow the security forces more power to arrest the mounting crime problem in parish.
He said the citizens of St. James are on edge with the recent spate of murders and shootings that have been occurring in the parish since the first SOE ended in January.
“I am very heartened at the position of the Government to reinstate the State of Emergency for St James, and I would say to the citizens of St. James and Montego Bay, cooperate with the security forces. It is in our best interest. They are there for the protection of life, and that is what we are seeking to do in this parish. We can’t take any more bloodletting,” the Mayor said.
“I am hoping that whatever the duration of the SOE, the police would have been very successful in the apprehension, arrest and charge for some of these heinous crimes. I also hope that at the end, we will see a better relationship with the police and the public,” he added.
The Mayor said while he sympathises with the inconveniences that law-abiding citizens may face, the SOE is necessary to bring order and stability back to the parish, and he is confident the results will be worthwhile.
He urged citizens to cooperate with members of the security forces throughout the duration of the SOE.
Since January, St. James has seen a marked increase in crime and violence, in particular murders.
According to police data, between January 1 and April 28 this year, 55 persons were murdered in St. James, compared to 27 for the corresponding period last year.