SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland - Deputy prime minister and Security Minister Dr Horace Chang says a raft of social intervention activities are to begin in communities that fall under the zone of special operations (ZOSO) in Savanna-la-Mar in coming weeks.
On Sunday, January 16, 2022, in response to ongoing flare-up of violence that earned Westmoreland the dubious distinction of being one of the police divisions with the highest murder figures last year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared the ZOSO for the areas of Russia, Dalling Street and Dexter in the southern parts of Savanna-la-Mar.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer West on Saturday, Dr Chang explained that the enhanced security measure in Westmoreland came after most of the budget commitments were made.
“It social (programmes) should begin soon,” Dr Chang told the Observer West.
He further noted that “last Sunday there was an advertisement for consultants for the Norwood section and the same process will follow in Westmoreland”.
“Some work was done there (Savanna-la- Mar) before with the Inner-city Basic Services Programme, but we need to do a lot more. But within this budget year we will see them coming up in Sav.”
President of the Cooke Street Citizens' Association, Bishop Oneil Russell has complained that the social intervention phase of the ZOSO in the Westmoreland capital is taking too long to start.
“I have not seen anything going on, not one thing at this moment and I believe that it is taking too long. As the president of the citizens' association I have to be on the ground daily and observe the pain, in not only my community, but other communities,” Bishop Russell complained.
“ I see where the young men remain idle, there is nothing for them to do. Persons still don't have a job because there is nothing for them to do. We have not seen any person from the ZOSO committee coming into the community even to do a survey of what should be done in the community, everything is lagging behind.”
He was, however, satisfied with the work of the security forces in the maintenance of peace, even as residents are still unable to cross into “enemy” communities.
“We are happy for the police and soldiers coming through but we really need social intervention now and we are not seeing anything. It is taking too long. It should be a priority for whosoever is in charge,” he insisted.
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