Gov't plans legal aid for cops, partnership with US customs in tackling crime

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, says that the Government will provide legal support in the future for cops who are engaged in shoot outs with armed criminals, while they are on duty.

Chang also announced that Jamaica will ensure closer cooperation with US Customs, through an agreement under the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAA), to tackle the export of guns to Jamaica.

US Customs and Border Protection has been using the model as a basis for negotiating CMAAs) with other foreign administrations, since joining the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) in 1970. Domestic and foreign courts recognise each agreement as a legal basis for wide ranging cooperation.

The minister was responding to the resounding pleas for help from his colleagues on both sides of the House of Representatives who appealed for support at either the level of the social intervention led Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) or the States of Emergency (SOEs).

While speaking in the debate to extend the life of the ZOSOs in Denham Town, Kingston and Mount Salem in St James in the House of Representatives yesterday.

Opposition spokesman on national security, Fitz Jackson led the call from the Opposition benches for discussions declaring more ZOSOs, or even SOEs in emergency responses in urgent cases.

“Minister you know you can call on me at any time. We are ready to work with you for Jamaica's sake…so I am pleading with you,” Jackson assured him.

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, who already has a ZOSO (Mount Salem) in her West Central St James constituency noted that people have become afraid to walk the streets, which confirms that these are not normal time in the country.

“And if we fool ourselves into thinking that normal operations will suffice, we will really fool ourselves," she added.

Member of Parliament for North Clarendon, Horace Dalley (PNP) urged the government to declare a ZOSO in the town of May Pen.

In the end the House voted unanimously to extend the two ZOSOs by another 60 days.

Balford Henry


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