Holness insists SOE not a knee-jerk reaction

Monday, September 24, 2018

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THE third state of emergency (SOE) announced yesterday to control crime and violence in sections of Kingston and St Andrew will encounter its first real challenge this morning as children and adults return to school and work after the weekend break.

Both Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang have sought to assure commuters that they should not expect any serious delays because of the new emergency measures.

The security forces are also urging motorists not to stop for any lengthy period to view SOE activities and create pile-ups, and to keep their windows down while passing the checkpoints.

They said that checkpoints have been strategically placed to avoid gridlock, and have urged the public to call the following numbers to summon them or to report criminality: Crime Stop at #311 and the SOE centre at 876-837-8888.

Meanwhile, Holness said the move was no knee-jerk reaction to a noticeable surge in murders over the past few weeks.

“We have sat down and we have worked out a strategic response,” Holness said.

“We are targeting areas where the general level of crime is above the capacity of regular law enforcement (resources) in those areas. We are targeting areas where criminality is entrenched, where dons operate as if they are sovereign in the State. We are targeting areas where criminals operate with impunity.”

In an obvious reference to the fact that the Government and security forces have been focusing on 17 more volatile areas of the 20 selected in its strategic crime-fighting plan, he said that the government intends to deal with all these areas.

“But we are being strategic. We are being deliberate. And we are employing a methodology and it is working,” he added, in reference to his recent announcement that murders had fallen by over 20 per cent compared to last year, some 245 less than in 2017.

— Balford Henry

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