Letters to the Editor

Is the PNP opposing ZOSO in order to derail it?

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

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Dear Editor,

On Friday, September 1, 2017 Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared Mount Salem and its environs in St James as the first zone of special operations (ZOSO), due to the crime situation, in which the Government is spearheading a crime mitigation strategy.

In addition, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck indicated that there will also be a gun amnesty in each zone, allowing residents to hand over illegal guns and other contraband within 24 to 48 hours of the start of the operation.

It is to my surprise that the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) was against the ZOSO because they stated that it would infringe on citizens' rights, liberties and freedom of movement. The Bill was then passed in Parliament in July and the Jamaica Labour Party Government made every effort to carefully plan and implement this stabilising operation, while consulting and partnering with all stakeholders in order to make this ZOSO a success.

While the Government was actively training all of the stakeholders, including the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force in human rights procedures, in order to prevent any contravention of the protocols set place for the ZOSO, so as not to breach the citizens' rights, the PNP were busy beating the drum by saying that the launching of the ZOSO was taking too long.

Based on documented facts, they were initially against ZOSO, then they were now for it, then fast-forward to today and the PNP has made it known that they have activated a telephone line for people to report any abuses by the security forces. Please note that there is already a telephone number in place that is set up by the Government to report abuses. By the PNP launching a telephone line of their own, it will create confusion and derail the process and put Jamaica 10 steps backwards.

Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition should not object just for objection's sake, and this is exactly what Opposition Leader Peter Phillips and the PNP seem to be doing. It appears that they don't want this ZOSO to be successful.

One has to ask where were the PNP's efforts to set up a phone line for citizens in communities, such as Payneland, Rockfort and East Kingston, while they were having their undeclared civil war in these areas? Thus, this is a clear signal that they are trying to undermine the ZOSO without giving it a chance.

In order for this ZOSO to work, we need all stakeholders to come on board, including the PNP, and they should stop fighting against Jamaica's future.

Patrick Callum

patrickcallum@yahoo.com

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