Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the States of Public Emergency (SOEs) and the Zones of Special Operations have brought a measure of safety, well-being, security and dignity to the people who live and work in the areas of operation.
He said that in addition to the reduction in violent and other crimes, an important measure of the success of the enhanced security operations is that they have enabled people to sleep at nights and have the freedom to walk about their communities free of fear.
“These are the people who are living and experiencing the benefits of the SOEs. These are the families for whom the States of Public Emergency are providing a safe and peaceful environment. These are the communities where confidence and hope are slowly being restored, and where engagement with the police is being redefined,” Dr. Chang said.
He was making his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 30.
The National Security Minister said the SOE is only one of the strategic tools in the crime-fighting arsenal, noting that the Government has always maintained that the objective is to save lives and return peace to communities.
“And yet, on every occasion, persons who do not live or work in these communities, who do not understand the reality faced by the people of these communities, stand on their platform of moral authority and decry the effectiveness of the SOEs,” he lamented.
Dr. Chang pointed out that it is a completely different reality for the persons who are most affected.
He noted for example that “across the western region of the island, where an SOE has been in place the longest, the security experts can report that violent crimes are at a 20-year low, and gun seizures are at an all-time high”.
“Since January of this year, the police have seized more than 60 new firearms in St. James. This reflects the renewed trust and confidence that the people have in the work of the police,” Dr. Chang added.