KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared a State of Public Emergency (SOE) in the parishes of Clarendon, St Catherine and sections of Kingston and St Andrew.
An SOE has also been established for the parishes of St James, Westmoreland and Hanover.
Holness made the declaration a short while ago during a press conference at Jamaica House, citing an increase in criminal activities across the parishes.
According to Holness, the increase in crime and violence presents a threat to property and public order.
“The government, after careful consideration on the advice of the security chiefs, have decided to advise the Governor General that it was necessary and indeed appropriate to declare States of Public Emergency in these areas. We have seen an increase in criminal activity in these areas and indeed a threat to property and in some instances public disorder,” he said.
Holness shared that over the last six months there has been a significant increase in murders on the island. This was echoed by Major General Antony Anderson.
“As at November 13, we have had a total of 1,360 murders in Jamaica. It’s really at that point an increase of 6.8 per cent over last year,” he said. “The main drivers of these violent crimes continue to be gang violence which accounts for 71 per cent of all murders and interpersonal conflicts which account for another 16 per cent of all murders.”
“We will be targeting guns, gangs and gunmen who are the chief architects of the sort of violence we are seeing in the society,” Anderson continued, as he expressed that the police force will continue in their efforts to root out criminals.