On the advice of the Security forces, I have recommended to the Governor General that a State of Public Emergency be declared in the Kingston Central and Kingston Western Police divisions.
The Governor General has signed the proclamation giving effect to that state of public emergency in the areas recommended from this morning for 14 days.
This will connect the States of Emergency existing in the Kingston East and St. Andrew South divisions creating an effective security corridor along the waterfront from Bull Bay in the east to Ferry in the west
The space now declared has seen increased criminal activity in the second quarter of this year. These areas, if left unchecked have shown historically that they can spiral to chaotic ends even having national disruptive impact. We are also observing that the gangs in these areas are not confining themselves to traditional geographical boundaries within community locations, operations, and affiliations. This presents the possibility of super gangs through collaboration and creates a platform for the insemination of more nefarious and foreign criminal activity.
We have also seen an increase in criminal activity in extortion, especially around the market districts and the South Coast Highway Improvement Project which has started along the Harbour View through the Bull Bay area. At the launch of this project, it was clear that we will not allow criminals or politically connected persons to extort holdup or threaten the workers in any way.
This is a national project and the Government will deal decisively with anyone who seeks to disrupt or otherwise interfere with the smooth operation of this much anticipated project for the benefit of all Jamaica and particularly the people of St. Thomas.