Violence will not be tolerated – PM
PRIME Minister Bruce Golding in his national address minutes ago described the violence that has consumed downtown violence today as 'intolerable' and the state of emergency as the necessary step to allow security forces the powers to restore normality.
The prime minister issued the state of emergency earlier today following orchestrated attacks by gunmen on police who were trying to clear roadblocks.
"What is taking place is a calculated assault on the authority of the State that cannot be tolerated, and will not be allowed to continue," he said.
Four police stations have been attacked and two members of the security forces reported injured. One civilian has also been killed.
Under their new powers the security forces will be able to restrict freedom of movement, search premises and detain suspect persons without warrant.
"The security forces will be moving swiftly to bring the current situation under control. Criminal elements bent on violence and mayhem will be detained, and processed. The criminal element who have placed the society under siege will not be allowed to triumph," he said.
"The security forces have been instructed to observe and respect the rights of citizens to go about their lawful business. The city is not being shut down. People are assured that they are free to move about and go to work as usual. Schools will be in full session on Tuesday."
He acknowledged that there will be inconvenience – likely stopping and searching – as security forces carry out their work.
"But let us make no mistake. The threats that have emerged to the safety and security of our people will be repelled with strong and decisive action."
The state of emergency will remain in effect for a period of one month unless the security forces advise that it should be revoked or extended by Parliament. The state of emergency is limited to the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew and came into effect at 6.00 pm.
"This will be a turning point for us as a nation to confront the powers of evil that have penalized the society and earned us the unenviable label as one of the murder capitals of the world. We must confront this criminal element with determination and unqualified resolve," he said.
He concluded by once again appealing to law-abiding citizens to remain calm and support security forces.