Help us, please - Police call for full support of citizens in zones of special operations
As police and military personnel gear up to take over designated communities under the Zones of Special Operations Act, Superintendent of Police in charge of the Corporate Communications Unit, Stephanie Lindsay, is appealing for the public's support, as the ultimate aim of implementing the new law, is to create a safe Jamaica for all.
Lindsay was speaking to The Gleaner at Up Park Camp yesterday, during day one of an important three-day series of human-rights training for Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force commanders, as well as rank-and-file members.
"When we get out there, we expect full cooperation from the citizens. We want them to know that we are doing this because of them, so support us. If communities can come together with us and share in understanding, that if we fix the social ills, if we fix the disorder and if we do some simple things, going back to basics, we can actually see communities being restored to good and safe communities. We believe with this approach we are taking, we will get it right," stated Lindsay.
"We are preparing persons who are likely to be working out there in those special zones on the whole aspect of human rights. A lot of emphasis is being placed on respecting human rights and (minimising) the use of force, and we want people to understand that we are serious this time around. We don't know when a zone will be declared, so we want to ensure that if and when that time comes, our members are ready. As we move into those zones, we want persons to feel reassured that they can expect to see professionalism at a very high standard, as we carry out our duties in these special zones," she said.
Thumbs up for Holness ... JFJ lauds no kick-down-door policy
Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) is currently playing a major role in the human-rights training being offered to members of the security forces. And JFJ board member Horace Levy is commending Prime Minister Andrew Holness for what he says is Holness' seeming respect for the rights of his citizens.
"I suspect strongly that the greater discipline of the military on the ground would have a positive effect in the execution of law enforcement, and I am hoping it does, because there is need for strong law enforcement, provided that there is no violation of human rights. The feature of this act, or at least, the way it is being promulgated by the prime minister, is quite unique. On previous occasions, when there were crime crises, as in the 1960s and '70s, Prime Minister Hugh Shearer told the police to take no measurements. In other words, just go in and carry out policing duties.
"Michael Manley, in 1974, established the Suppression of Crime Act, which had to be repealed 19 years later because of elements which were contrary to human rights. Here it is that Prime Minister Holness is strongly speaking out in favour of human rights and advising the security forces in general that he is not into any kick-down door. This approach contrasts very sharply with approaches taken in earlier years, and this is highly commendable. Also [laudable] is the component of social and economic interventions. That is something that Jamaicans For Justice sees as laudatory and we have praised it, but we are waiting to see how it is implemented," stressed Levy.