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PNP calls on Holness to clarify selection of Mount Salem as first ZOSO

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People's National Party (PNP) is calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to clarify the crime statistics and all issues surrounding the declaration of the first zone of special operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St James.

The Opposition this morning reported that information has emerged that suggests that Mount Salem was never recommended by the Joint Forces Heads to be the first zone, as required by the ZOSO Act.

Section 4 (2) of the Act specifies that in the declaration of a zone, “there are reasonable grounds to believe that due to rampant criminality, gang warfare, escalating violence and murder and the threat to the rule of law and public order, it is necessary so to do.”

The PNP, in a statement this morning, argued that based on available data, Mount Salem does not meet this specification making the declaration appear to be an unlawful act.

“The prime minister must disclose whether it was a specific recommendation of the Joint Heads or whether he selected it on his own,” said the Opposition, adding that Holness “risks the nation losing confidence in the process which is clearly and precisely set out in the Act”.

It further suggested that Holness should bear political responsibility for the “messy situation which this has become including confused personnel mobilisation, inaccurate crime statistics, and the lack of adherence to the Act.

“If he does not, the country will conclude that he manipulated the entire process for political purposes. Confidence in his leadership must be shaken as manipulation would not only be morally outrageous but would be a breach the ZOSO Act.”

The PNP said it remains firm in its recommendation that crime is not to be politicised and that a meeting of all stakeholders should be immediately convened so that a national consensus may be reached on a workable crime plan.


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