Jamaica has reimposed states of public emergency (SoEs) in eight parishes to control crime linked mainly to gang activity.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the measure Wednesday at a news briefing, declaring that the crime threat level remains high.
“We will use this tool as long as there is a threat to life and property and communities that are on so extensive a scale that it will deprive citizens of their rights and freedoms and the situation is over and above the capacity of our regular law enforcement,” Holness explained.
“That is the definition, built into constitution, of the state of public emergency,” Holness told reporters.
Police Commissioner Antony Anderson also addressed Wednesday’s news briefing.
“The country has recorded a daily average of four murders,” Anderson disclosed.
But he explained that there was a spike in September where the daily average reached ‘nearly five murders’.
“September and October recorded increases as high as eight percent when compared to 2021,” he told reporters.
However, the Police Chief explained that over the past two months, the average has dropped to 2.5.
In addition, he noted that the gap between last year and this year had dropped from eight percent in early October to a current 1.5 percent.
Anderson said the achievement resulted from legislative, operational, and intelligence responses.
“The key legislative tools were the provision of emergency powers to the security forces for two fourteen-day periods during November and December and the new firearms act coming into effect at the beginning November,” he observed.
“The use of states of public emergency has once again proved to be the quickest and most effective way of rapidly reducing violent crime,” Anderson declared.
Headline photo: Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness.