Chang tells St James residents not to worry after SOE ends

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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NORWOOD, St James — National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has assured residents in St James that their security will not be compromised when the current state of public emergency (SOE) comes to an end on January 31 in the parish.

Addressing a community forum in Norwood on Sunday, the national security minister told the gathering that instead of the security forces withdrawing from the communities, their presence will be increased right across the parish.

He said that while the security forces will no longer have the extraordinary powers granted under an SOE, they will still be carrying out effective policing.

Minister Chang disclosed that new barracks have been constructed adjacent to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay to permanently house the number two battalion of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), which was previously based at Up Park Camp in Kingston.

“We no longer have the cost of bringing them in from Kingston and finding hotel accommodation for them at enormous expense; they are now permanently based in Montego Bay. They can now assist the police from here [Montego Bay] to Westmoreland,” he noted.

He further disclosed that the JDF Coast Guard will also be playing a more active role in the west to protect the coastlines.

Dr Chang said that since the SOEs were established a year ago, they have significantly reduced the so-called “informer fi dead culture”, adding that residents are giving vital information to the security forces about criminals and their activities.

“There are more residents who are reporting more criminal and domestic matters to the members of the security forces. The Government is committed to ensuring the safety of our citizens, so while the SOEs will come to an end, the security forces will be using other security measures to keep crime in check in the parish,” he stressed.

“This killing thing has become a horrible part of Jamaica's existence and there is no reason for anybody to be killing each other. The Government is very concerned about the spate of senseless and bizarre killings taking place in the country where we see boyfriends killing babymothers and vice versa. There is too much of a tendency to hurt each other, and the Government will be looking at ways to change and impact the lives and behaviour of citizens,” he said.

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