Opposition supports SOE, but asks 'where's the plan?

Opposition supports SOE, but asks 'where's the plan?

Editor-at- Large

Monday, January 27, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James— President of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips says the Government needs to place more emphasis on long-term social intervention programmes and proper policing to effectively tackle the crime and violence that beset the island.

“The Government needs to take off the blinders and see that what they are doing is not working to the satisfaction of the people,” Dr Phillips told reporters in Montego Bay yesterday, following news of the latest state of emergency (SOE) that was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness for the East Kingston Police Division earlier.

“They (Government) don't have a particular plan, and because we are mindful of the very terrible plight and anxieties of the people about their security, we have not opposed the granting of the state of emergency, but we are still trying for the Government to find the better path.”

According to Dr Phillips, a PNP Administration would, among other measures, place more emphasis on long-term social intervention in the areas that are producing violence, and also “to do things like hot spot policing, not just in the areas where states of the emergency exists”.

He added that police posts would be established wherever there was “potential violent criminal activity”, while greater emphasis would be placed on intelligence.

Earlier, Julian Robinson, the party's general secretary, told reporters that he was not surprised that Holness had announced a state of public emergency in the East Kingston Police Division, arguing that “it seems to be the only tool that the Government draws on where there are serious levels of crime”.

He said the party would be ensuring that the rights of citizens are respected during the enhanced security measure.

“What it (SOE) does is that it allows the security forces to detain persons, and I suspect that it is the main motivating factor for this, so what we will he ensuring is that the rights of individuals are respected and the security forces act in a way that is consistent with human rights, but I don't believe it is the only tool that can control crime,” said Robinson.

States of public emergency are already in place in Clarendon, St Catherine, and the St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and St Andrew South police divisions.

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