Gov't calling out National Reserve

Gov't calling out National Reserve

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer

Saturday, November 28, 2020

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MOUNT SALEM, St James — The Government says it is calling out the Jamaica National Reserve to enhance the security forces' presence in communities islandwide in a push back against increasing criminal activities.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness told guests at a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a new $45-million police station in Mount Salem, St James, yesterday that the decision was taken during a National Security Council meeting on Thursday.

“Yesterday, at our National Security Council meeting, which we have regularly and we take this very seriously we have decided that in order to support the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) in their efforts for a surge, that we will make a full call out of the National Reserve to augment the force presence that we have in communities all across Jamaica,” he said.

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) explains on its website that the “Jamaica National Reserve is a multi-domain focused reserve force formation that has been expanded to include a headquarters element in command of four units — the Third, Sixth and Ninth Battalions the Jamaica Regiment in addition to the Support Battalion”.

Yesterday, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang was heard on radio saying that the formation numbered approximately 2,000.

In his address yesterday, the prime minister also said more dynamic operations will be conducted across Jamaica.

“Even though this will be a muted Christmas season, in terms of the level of celebrations at Christmas, certainly we are still expecting that there will be significant commercial activity over and beyond what happened for the rest of the year, and so we are going to ensure that space in which commercial activity takes place that those spaces are also safe. We are also noticing an increase in traffic on the roads and with that comes the usual issues of traffic management and you know the usual indiscipline that we have to address, and so that will also have our attention,” the prime minister said.

“So, for the next month, we are going to make every effort to increase our presence, increase our dynamic operations and give greater profile to what we have been doing,” he added.

He also said that the Government is committed to ensuring that criminals do not have a free reign, even as it respects a Supreme Court ruling in September that the months-long detention of five men without charge under the states of emergency was unconstitutional.

“Compliance with what is legal and constitutional is not something that is optional. The Government of Jamaica must always be in compliance with the laws itself and that is our intention,” he said.

“It is a difficult balancing act because we now do not have the tools because it is being questioned and challenged, but we will have to find other measures. They may not be as effective in the sense of immediacy of the response and the sustainability of the response, but the commissioner of police knows, the minister of national security knows that in this matter I'm at them 24/7,” Holness added.

Pointing out that the number of murders so far this year is fewer than the same period last year, the prime minister said: “It would appear that there is an emerging trend that once the criminals see that we are making progress... that there is almost a deliberate attempt to increase our numbers. We saw it the year before, we saw it the year before that, and we are seeing the same trend this year.”


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