JLP youth arm blasts PNP for not supporting SOE extension
Rohan Walsh, President of Young Jamaica

The decision of the parliamentary caucus of the People’s National Party (PNP) to reject the extension of states of public emergency (SOEs) declared in seven parishes has been roundly criticised by Young Jamaica, the youth arm of the governing Jamaica Labour Party.

Young Jamaica, in a statement Friday evening, noted that the eight Opposition senators followed their colleagues in the House of Representatives “to deny the Jamaican people the safety and security provided by the most effective crime-fighting tool deployed by the Government in history”.

“The PNP’s action demonstrates that they are wholly tone deaf to pleas and demands of civil society, private sector businesses, pundits, the security forces and, most importantly, the people of Jamaica,” Young Jamaica remarked.

READ: SOEs derailed as Opposition senators vote against extension

The SOEs were declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on November 15 for an initial 14 days, on the advice of the security chiefs and following an uptick in murders. A two-thirds majority vote is needed in both houses of Parliament to extend the security measure beyond the initial two weeks. The government has a super majority in the House of Representatives where the measure easily passed on Tuesday, but it needed the support of one Opposition senator in the 21-seat senate.

Young Jamaica pointed to recent statistics which it said have shown that upon the SOE declaration during the week of November 15, Jamaica experienced the most sustained reduction in murders in those areas since 2015.

“Furthermore, past utilisation of the emergency powers also resulted in similar decreases while the measures were in effect. The Mark Golding-led PNP’s arguments that the measures are ineffective fly in the face of these facts,” Young Jamaica stated.

Continuing, it said: “The parliamentary voting record of Opposition members on the issue of security and public order begs the question - is Mark Golding and the PNP willing to put the best interest of all Jamaicans over sheer politicking to oppose for opposing sake?”

The JLP youth arm referred to what it called the “lacklustre years of governance” which it said "consistently defunded the security forces and hampered their crime-fighting ability which led to the rampant proliferation of gangs, guns, violence, and a 190 per cent increase in the murder rate between 1990 to 2007”.

“It must be said to the PNP that to reject the SOE is to endanger the lives and livelihoods of all Jamaicans - young and old, rich and power, male and female. To play politics while many communities are under siege by criminal elements is inexcusable and must be condemned,” said Young Jamaica President, Rohan Walsh.

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