The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Denham Town, West Kingston; Mount Salem and Norwood in St. James; Greenwich Town and August Town in St. Andrew, have been extended for a further 60 days.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 20) approved five Resolutions for the extensions, which were moved by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang.
Dr. Chang said the request for extension is designed to ensure continuity of the significant work that is being done within the Zones.
“The effectiveness of the Zones of Special Operations is devoid of debate. The clear-hold-build principle that undergirds this measure has positively impacted the lives of the residents of these communities,” he stated.
He noted, further, that the Zones of Special Operations have been successful as a tool for restoring order, reducing criminal violence and reprisals, and creating a safe environment for social and infrastructural development.
“The Government will continue to utilise the appropriate tools and implement the necessary policies and programmes to ensure the safety, security and well-being of the people of Jamaica,” Dr. Chang said.
“We will not compromise, waver or negotiate on this matter. This Government condemns all acts of criminal violence; whether it be inter-gang conflict, intimate partner violence, or domestic-related violence, they will be met with the full force of the law,” he added.
Dr. Chang noted that Jamaica has one of the most robust Constitutions, and a Charter of Rights that guarantees the preservation of the rights of people.
“As a Government, we will continue to pursue the necessary strategic investments, legislative amendments, and social development to improve citizen security and public safety. We will do this while being mindful of citizens’ rights, and of their responsibilities; thereby preserving and enhancing the quality of life for all Jamaicans and creating new foundations for long-term prosperity and peace,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chang said the Zones of Special Operations are essentially a development tool for public safety.
He noted that the Government has implemented a three-tiered clear-hold-build approach to community transformation through strategic investments and coordinated interventions.
“Within this context, the build phase continues to take primacy for Denham Town and Mount Salem. Greenwich Town and August Town have now transitioned into the hold phase, while Norwood, which was declared on June 20, 2021, will progress into the clear phase for the period under review,” Dr. Chang pointed out.
The National Security Minister informed that there has been a significant reduction in criminal activities across all five Zones.
He assured the residents that the Joint Forces, which comprise members of the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, will continue to provide the necessary support, to rid the communities of violence producers, gangs, illegal weapons, ammunition, and contraband, even as “we build these communities”.
“The replication of the clear-hold-build policy will have implications for all challenged communities. Our social investment activities have been restructured to ensure accountability and inclusivity. We are giving particular emphasis to the utilisation of socio-demographic data in order to achieve meaningful and sustainable development in the communities,” Dr. Chang said.