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Story Highlights

  • The States of Public Emergency (SOEs) now in place in seven police divisions across the island will expire on Saturday (27 November).
  • Opposition Senators voted to end the enhanced security measures, which were announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness on November 14.
  • “I only regret that as Leader of Government Business, that this Senate has not delivered a better result to the people of Jamaica today,” she added.

The States of Public Emergency (SOEs) now in place in seven police divisions across the island will expire on Saturday (27 November).

This, after two resolutions to extend the SOEs until February 12, 2022, failed to get the required number of votes in the Senate, following a marathon sitting on Thursday (November 25).

The resolutions are the Emergency Powers (Parishes of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021, and the Emergency Powers (Specified Areas in the Parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021.

These apply to St. Andrew South, Kingston West, Kingston Central, and Kingston East in the Corporate Area, and St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.

Opposition Senators voted to end the enhanced security measures, which were announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness on November 14.

Thirteen senators voted to extend the measures; three voted against it; and five members were absent. The extension of emergency powers must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Upper House.

The resolutions, which were approved in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 23), needed one vote from an Opposition Senator to be approved.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, expressed disappointment that the resolutions were not approved, noting that “it’s a sad day for the people of Jamaica and, in particular, it is a sad day for the people who live in the communities covered by the seven divisions of the SOEs.

“We convey our apologies to the security forces who recommended and have been utilising the space and who had hoped that the debate today would rise to the level of reason and regard for the professional advice given and the realities on the ground,” she said.

“I only regret that as Leader of Government Business, that this Senate has not delivered a better result to the people of Jamaica today,” she added.

President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson also voiced his disappointment with the result of the vote.

The resolutions were moved by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda.

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