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  • The Prime Minister was speaking a press conference held at Jamaica House on Thursday (September 5), where he announced another SOE for the parishes of Clarendon and St. Catherine.
  • Additionally, he pointed out that in St. James, the number of firearms recovered has increased to 73 as opposed to 63 last year, adding that 4,500 rounds of ammunition were recovered this year, up from the 1,500 rounds recovered during the similar period last year.
  • The SOE will remain in force, unless revoked, for a period of 14 days or for longer periods, not exceeding three months.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says ongoing States of Public Emergency (SOEs) implemented in several parishes across the island have been effective and are achieving success.

“Within the spaces that we have the SOE and even outside of those spaces we have been able to interdict, bring before the courts, prosecute and have successful convictions,” he said.

The Prime Minister was speaking a press conference held at Jamaica House on Thursday (September 5), where he announced another SOE for the parishes of Clarendon and St. Catherine.

Mr. Holness said the Government has been “very strategic and very deliberate” in its work to curb criminal activity in the country, particularly murders “and it has… had an impact”.

He said the Administration aims to reduce the murder rate to zero “or to some number which is acceptable”.

“Generally, the objective of the Government is to bring our murder rate down to at least the regional average of homicide per 100,000 and regionally by the last statistics that we have from the United Nations, that would be around 16 per 100,000,” he said.

The Prime Minister noted that progress is being made in this regard, pointing out that one year into the Government’s five-year strategic plan, “we’ve moved our homicide rate…from 61 per 100,000 to 47 per 100,000”.

“The objective is to further bring that down. This is an objective that all Jamaicans should rally around. All Jamaicans should support that because the life that you save could very well be your own,” he added.

In the meantime, Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, contended that previous and current SOEs have proven to be very effective in reducing violent crime. Currently, SOEs are in effect in Westmoreland, Hanover and St James and the St. Andrew South division.

“We have seen reductions in murders in St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover of 24 per cent, 61 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, when compared with the similar period, prior to the declaration of the tri-parish SOE,” he said.

Major General Anderson noted that likewise, in St. Andrew South, there has been a 75 per cent drop in murders when compared to the similar period before the SOE.

Additionally, he pointed out that in St. James, the number of firearms recovered has increased to 73 as opposed to 63 last year, adding that 4,500 rounds of ammunition were recovered this year, up from the 1,500 rounds recovered during the similar period last year.

“This is indicative of a lot of the work that’s being done… under the ambit of the SOEs, including community interventions, building out our intelligence network and the investigations that are being done,” Major General Anderson said.

He noted that the use of “some specific scientific evidence in the courts” has resulted in a number of convictions for gun offences, and possession of firearms in particular. “In one week, we had 22 convictions in the high courts…in St. James,” he said.

The SOE will remain in force, unless revoked, for a period of 14 days or for longer periods, not exceeding three months.

It will give the security forces temporary additional powers of search, arrest and detention.

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