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Speech

This afternoon, the Cabinet, in emergency session, took the decision to advise the Governor-General to issue a proclamation declaring a state of public emergency for the Corporate Area effective 6.00 PM today. This decision was based on information and advice provided by the security forces that actions were being taken which pose significant threats to law and order in the Corporate Area.
Since this morning, violent, orchestrated attacks have been launched on a number of police stations. Two members of the security forces have been shot and injured.
What is taking place is a calculated assault on the authority of the State that cannot be tolerated, and will not be allowed to continue.
The state of emergency will enable the security forces to exercise extraordinary powers necessary to deal with this extraordinary situation. These include the power to restrict the freedom of movement, search premises and detain persons suspected of involvement in unlawful activities without warrant. These are necessary measures to restore order to a community that is now threatened.
The security forces will be moving swiftly to bring the current situation under control. Criminal elements bent on violence and mayhem will be detained, and processed. The criminal element who have placed the society under siege will not be allowed to triumph.
The security forces have been instructed to observe and respect the rights of citizens to go about their lawful business. The city is not being shut down. People are assured that they are free to move about and go to work as usual. Schools will be in full session on Tuesday.
There will be some inconvenience as the security forces intensify their surveillance and efforts to ferret out the criminals and return the Corporate Area to a state of calm.
But let us make no mistake. The threats that have emerged to the safety and security of our people will be repelled with strong and decisive action.
The state of emergency will remain in effect for a period of one month unless the security forces advise that it should be revoked or unless it is extended by the House of Representatives.
This will be a turning point for us as a nation to confront the powers of evil that have penalized the society and earned us the unenviable label as one of the murder capitals of the world. We must confront this criminal element with determination and unqualified resolve.
Tonight, I appeal to all law-abiding citizens to remain calm and support these necessary measures. My government is determined that Jamaica must be a land of peace, order and security, without this we will never achieve the happiness and prosperity that we seek.
Good night and God bless you: