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ZOSOs to be extended

Thursday, December 07, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Mount Salem, St James; and Denham Town in Kingston are to be extended by another 60 days.

The House of Representatives yesterday approved a motion requesting the extension, which was moved by Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Holness noted that additional time is needed to facilitate social-intervention activities that require long-term focus and infrastructural investment.

The time previously allotted for both zones will expire this month, Denham Town on December 15 and Mount Salem, on December 29.

This would be the second extension for the Mt Salem zone, the first to become operational, on September 1. The zones were established under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act, which was passed in Parliament earlier in the year. The law seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social-intervention.

The prime minister said both zones have “yielded unquestionable results”, noting that there has been no report of murders in any of the zones, no report of serious crimes, and no report of abuse by any State actors in either zone.

“Since the declaration of zones, two communities that have previously been exposed to intolerable levels of crime and criminal influence are now experiencing peace, protection by the State, safety from gang violence, and security where insecurity was previously abundant.

This is a successful model that is worth repeating,” he said.

The Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act gives the prime minister power to declare an area a Zone of Special Operations in order to tackle increased crime and volatility in a community.

This is in consultation with the National Security Council. The zone can only be established after the police commissioner and the Chief of Defence Staff make a request for such a declaration in writing to the prime minister.

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