PNP has always supported ZOSO

Letters to the Editor

PNP has always supported ZOSO

Friday, April 26, 2019

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Dear Editor ,

We note with concern your editorial dated Tuesday, April 23, 2019, which wrongly accused leader of the Opposition and People's National Party President Dr Peter Phillips of opposing the Zones of Special Operations.

We wish to state categorically that Dr Phillips and other members of the Parliamentary Opposition are not in opposition of the ZOSO Act. During the debate of the legislation, we raised several amendments to the Bill to strengthen its effectiveness. Our aim was to ensure that as we considered legislation to fight the scourge of criminal activity, the protection of the constitutional rights of every law-abiding Jamaican was assured.

The position of the PNP always was and still is in support of the ZOSO.

Our view remains that the state of emergency is not a long-term crime-fighting mechanism and its use in that way is not supported constitutionally. We are firmly opposed to the State trampling on the rights of the people, and the ability to detain and hold persons for extended periods without charge. It is simply not right to use illegal methods to fight crime.

The PNP has insisted in meetings with the Government and has stated publicly that there are other available legislative measures that can be utilised, such as the ZOSO Act, which allow the security forces to deploy effective crime-fighting measures and which will not infringe on people's constitutional rights.

The Government declared Zones of Special Operations in St James and Kingston and had the support of the PNP. The Parliamentary Opposition has also voted on a number of occasions to extend these operations. In fact, Dr Phillips and other Opposition spokespersons have called for more Zones of Special Operations to be declared, particularly in the so-called hot spots. Inexplicably, the Government has delayed doing so.

Finally, the People's National Party has always stood for the constitutional rights of all Jamaicans and has no regret in this regard. The party has sought to protect those rights in the case of the NIDS Act and with the states of emergency and will continue to do so.

While the Jamaica Observer is entitled to its own opinion, it is not entitled to its own facts.

We urge the Observer to do what is right for the sake of accuracy and correct this misinformation.

Julian Robinson

General Secretary

People's National Party

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