ZOSOs islandwide extended for 60 daysWednesday, June 16, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) encompassing the Denham Town, Mount Salem, Greenwich Town and August Town communities have been extended for a further period of 60 days by an act of Parliament.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang acting on the advice of the National Security Council and in accordance with the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act, piloted the Bill at a sitting of Parliament on Tuesday, June 15.
He said that work being carried out within the four communities, as a result of their designation as ZOSOs is evidence of the value of the special security measure.
“Madam Speaker the effectiveness of the Zones of Special Operations is devoid of debate. The four zones that have been declared are working effectively and the people will attest to the significant infrastructural, social and critically, the security improvements that they are experiencing within their communities,” the minister said, adding that as a result Members of Parliament across the island have been requesting the declaration of ZOSOs within their constituencies, as a means to address not just the crime factor but also to arrest the social decadence.
Chang said the Government has consistently stated its intention to expand the ZOSO model to the various communities that meet the criteria.
“The fact is, following decades of infrastructural neglect and sustained criminal activity by armed thugs, the number of vulnerable and volatile communities has increased over time. The clear-hold-build model of ZOSOs enables us to simultaneously enforce the necessary suppression measures, while strengthening the security, social investment and physical redevelopment of these communities,” he said.
The ministry noted that a total of 21 communities have been identified by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), as being vulnerable and volatile communities.
Chang noted that while the vulnerable communities could meet the criteria for ZOSO designation, it is impractical for the Government to declare Zones of Special Operations in all communities at the same time. He explained that this would require extensive human, financial and institutional capacity that could become a strain of the security forces.
The minister added that the policy and practice of the Government has never been to neglect the most vulnerable.
“As I had outlined in my contribution to this year's sectoral debate, the Government has issued a policy directive to reposition and strengthen social investments, in order to ensure meaningful, long-term impact on the lives of the people of the identified communities. This approach is based on the comprehensive, all-of-government structure for social investment under Plan Secure Jamaica,” Chang said.
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