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Nothing has changed with ZOSO, says Opposition

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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HOURS after the second zone of special operations (ZOSO) was declared in Denham Town yesterday, Opposition Spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson called on the Andrew Holness-led Administration to admit to Jamaicans that it is unable to deal with the current crime wave gripping the country.

Jackson said, while he is yet to see the data requested for Denham Town, to include the number of gangs, murders and patterns, declaring the community a ZOSO does not convey a sense of comfort or any sense of hope.

According to him, the powers that are contained in the ZOSO Act already exist in legislation and, equally, the social intervention provision in ZOSO already exists.

“If you look, the murder rate continues to increase every day; nothing has changed. So it is clear that those interventions by themselves, do not make for a remedy of the problem in the immediate or medium term. That's a matter of fact,” Jackson told the Jamaica Observer when contacted yesterday.

The legislator said, on the surface of it, since the declaration of the first ZOSO in Mount Salem, St James, there is nothing to suggest that it is either making a transformational impact on that community or is it sending a signal throughout the rest of Jamaica.

“…We want to look at the data to see what informs the decisions. We want to make sure that they are not subjectively determined, but hard data that is in keeping with what the intention of the Bill,” the parliamentarian noted.

He questioned whether or not the requisite funding and general resource requirement promised by the Government will be made available.

“They've done nothing about that (funding) and that's almost two months now,” he stressed.

Jackson said the talk of remedying crime began even before the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) formed Government last year, with Prime Minister Holness's statement that Jamaicans would be able to sleep with their windows and doors open if they rejected the People's National Party (PNP) coming before the February 2016 polls.

“More people are dying today than when the PNP was in office and nothing has been put forward by the prime minister, his Minister of National Security [Robert Montague], or his Government since then until now. This is more than 18 months after taking office,” the PNP's chairman said.

“I believe that the Government should just acknowledge to the country that it is unable to deal with the problem and let the country decide what it wishes to do going forward,” he added.

In the meantime, he rubbished talks that Government inherited a surging crime rate from the Opposition, following an 18-year stint in office.

“That is a very tired and lame argument. If we're going to be living in the past then there is no point to be living in the present. The government of the day is to attend to problems that it has before it. You're elected to treat with the problems that you inherit. You weren't elected to give excuses,” he told the Observer.

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