ST JAMES, Jamaica- Custos of Westmoreland, Reverend Cannon Hartley Perrin, has come out in support of the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) declared in Southern Savanna-la-Mar, noting that it will help to curtail the escalating crime and violence in the parish.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during a virtual press conference yesterday, announced the imposition of the ZOSO, which will cover communities including Russia, Dalling Street and Dexter Street, and will last for 60 days.
In making the declaration, the Prime Minister said the security measure is necessary to
address rampant criminality, save lives, and protect communities.
Therefore, Perrin said he is hopeful the ZOSO will help reign in perpetrators of crime in the parish. The Custos also added that he would welcome its rollout in other communities in the parish that have also been experiencing an upsurge in murder.
He argued that additional social intervention measures need to be engineered for unattached youth in the parish, which, he believes, will also help to combat crime.
“You have a lot of guys leaving school – what are we to do with them? They are not trained towards anything. They don't have the academic qualifications to do anything, so they're just left out. So [we need] more youth camps that call in these boys
for further training and point them in another direction,” Perrin suggested.
Meanwhile, residents have welcomed the decision to impose the ZOSO in Southern Savanna-la-Mar. Lorna Williams of Cooke Street believes the measure will help to bring peace as criminals have been driving fear in the communities.
“I am happy we have it (ZOSO) in our area. I will feel much safer, and with the crime that is going on, it needs to stop. When you hear the gunshots firing, even though it's not in my area, I am so afraid,” she said.
She is hopeful that the police will use the ZOSO to remove illegal guns from the streets.
Bishop of the Ark of the Covenant Holy Trinity Church in Savanna-la-Mar, O'Neil Russell, is confident that the presence of the security forces in the area will make a difference.
However, he said he would like to see other areas included under the ZOSO.
“It will help the community, it will help the young people based on what the Zone of Special Operations comes with, such as the social intervention [aspect] of it,” Bishop Russell added.
He is also calling on residents to support the efforts of the security forces to rid the parish of criminals.