SOEs declared for Hanover, St James, St Catherine, and Clarendon
States of Public Emergency (SOE) have been declared across the entire parishes of Hanover, St James, St Catherine and Clarendon. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says this decision underscores the government’s commitment to the safety and security of Jamaicans.
Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen authorised the SOEs upon the advice of the Commissioner of Police Antony Anderson and the Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss-Gorman.
The SOEs will initially last for 14 days, commencing at 12:01 on November 23, 2023.
In a release on Thursday, Anderson outlined the alarming situation in these divisions.
“The Clarendon Police Division recorded the fifth-highest number of murders (99) among all police divisions, marking a 14 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2022. Clarendon and St Catherine, being adjoining parishes, intensify our concerns, accounting for 24 per cent of the nation’s murders since the beginning of the year.”
“In the St James police division, the highest number of murders across all divisions was recorded, totalling one hundred and sixty-nine from January 1 to November 15, 2023. This division also experienced the highest number of shooting incidents, totalling one hundred and one during the same period. The adjacency of St James and Hanover further exacerbates the situation, with their combined geographical area accounting for twenty per cent of the nation’s murders since the year’s start,” he added.
Wemyss-Gorman also expressed firm support for the declaration.
“The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is dedicated to working alongside the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to stabilise these parishes,” she stated
Dr Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, urged the public to perceive these measures as a united stand against crime.
“We call on citizens nationwide to back these efforts. Together, as a nation, we can triumph over these criminal elements,” he emphasised.
Holness stressed the vital role of community cooperation in cauterising crime.
“The cooperation of every Jamaican is essential. We must unite to ensure our nation’s safety. These measures are temporary but critical in augmenting the efforts of our security forces, which have yielded significant results. The government continues to invest in enhancing our nation’s security infrastructure,” he stated.
“The SOEs enable the security forces, including the JDF, to conduct targeted operations aimed at dismantling criminal networks and curbing murders. The government assures the public that the safety and security of all Jamaicans remain its highest priority.”
The boundaries for the SOEs encompass the entire parishes of Hanover, St James, St Catherine, and Clarendon.