States of Emergency declared for St. James and Westmoreland
States of Public Emergency have been declared for St. James and Westmoreland.
The SOEs, which were declared upon the advice of the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Defence Staff, commenced at 12:01 AM today (June 22) and will be in effect for an initial period of 15 days.
This is the second SOE declared for St. James in as many months. The previous SOE was declared on Tuesday, May 16, and expired on May 30.
In a release this morning, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) indicated that over the period of January 1 to June 19 this year, St. James had the highest number of murders across all police divisions with a total of 95.
The OPM noted that Westmoreland recorded the second-highest number of murders across police divisions for the same period with a total of 54.
In announcing the SOEs this morning, Prime Minister Andrew Holness emphasized that the measures are in response to a surge in criminal activities in the respective parishes and represent the government’s commitment to safeguarding the lives of innocent citizens.
For his part, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang, reiterated that the rule of law, public safety, and national security continue to be threatened by crime and violence.
The State of Public Emergency empowers the security forces, including the JDF, to carry out targeted operations aimed at disrupting and dismantling criminal gangs and their networks, while preventing serious crimes.