SOEs reimposed in several parishes
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has once again declared States of Emergency (SOEs) in several parishes. In a press briefing on Tuesday, Holness stated that SOEs will now be in effect in St Ann, Clarendon, St Catherine and specified areas of Kingston and St Andrew.

St James, Westmoreland and Hanover are also under States of Emergency.

Holness stated that “since the end of the last state of emergency, we have seen, unfortunately, an increase in criminal activities in these areas and indeed a threat to property and in some instances, public disorder.”

The Prime Minister had declared SOEs in seven parishes on November 15.

READ: PM declares States of Emergency in several parishes

However, the Government’s effort to have the States of Emergency extended until January 14, 2023, was refused by Opposition Leader Mark Golding.

The Opposition leader argued that the repeated use of SOEs by the Holness administration since 2017 “has …been a subversion of our constitutional order which I don’t support as it is inconsistent with my parliamentary oath”. He also cited court cases which he said have seriously questioned the constitutionality of the SOEs and noted that the government was disregarding the “cardinal constitutional principle of respecting the separation of powers among the three branches of the state”.

READ: Golding rejects SOE extension

Holness informed, at the press briefing, that as the Christmas season approaches, there is a need to protect life and property.

“It is important to note that we are also approaching the Christmas season. This will be the first Christmas since the ending of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA). And already, we’re seeing and projecting an increase in activities including entertainment activities, including increased commercial activities and we are already seeing a demand, a stretch on the resources that we have to guarantee the citizens that they will be able to go about their business in a safe and secure manner.

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