Some security personnel have resisted the reinstatement of the states of public emergency (SOEs) that Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared yesterday in a number of parishes. At a press conference yesterday, the prime minister declared that the government would keep using SOEs as a tool to stem the tide of crime in specific areas.
St Ann, Clarendon, St Catherine, St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Kingston, and St Andrew all have the 14-day security measures in place. However, the SOEs, according to some law enforcement officials in the corporate area, has become a burden and aren’t very effective.
The Jamaica Star reported that an officer said that some people say that the SOEs serve as a deterrent, but he honestly doesn’t see it given the current state of affairs. The country’s murder rate was lower last year, and there weren’t as many declarations. On the other hand, a 13-year veteran claimed that SOEs just lead to weariness and negative morale on the job.
The officers also stated that they sometimes have to wait longer to get relieved from their positions while working longer shifts, that some fundamental needs are not being met, and that the officers aren’t eating on time. The officer thinks that driving around on the main routes is not cutting it. The officer believes that it would be best if they were deployed on foot to walk throughout these volatile areas so they could catch these criminals while they were in the act or at home when they were unsuspecting.
According to data from Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, Jamaica has registered 1,481 murders between January 1 and December 28, despite a number of SOEs this year. Holness nonetheless argued that SOEs function “every time they are implemented.”
The Prime Minister declared that they have intelligence on the people who are committing murders and that they have the means to isolate them from their communities and interrupt their cycle of life-taking. Based upon the powers given in Jamaica’s constitution in the declaration of the use of these emergency powers.
According to Holness, there were 127 homicides in December of last year, but this was cut in half during this comparable time. He went further to say that if we were to analyse those 127 murders, we would find that there are more than 1,500 murders per year. You would therefore have a murder rate of roughly 56 per 100,000 people. He insisted that they could not allow this to happen this year.