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Crime policy failure! - Phillips rips into Holness administration for declaring second public emergency

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

Dr Peter Phillips, president of the People's National Party (PNP), has charged that the imposition of a second state of emergency since the start of the year is the Government's acknowledgement of its own policy failure in regards to combating crime.

Crusading at a political meeting in Black River, St Elizabeth, on Sunday, Phillips ripped into the Andrew Holness administration for declaring a state of emergency in the St Catherine North Police Division last Sunday.

"We sympathise with all the people in St Catherine who are victims of violent criminals. And (it is) because of the failure of the Government to control crime up to now," Phillips charged.

But he made it clear that he is not against what has now been termed enhanced security measures, the second of which was declared on Sunday. It followed a state of emergency covering the entire parish of St James, which was declared in January.

"We will not object to the declaration of the state of emergency," Phillips added.

He further argued that the special measures were placed in the Constitution to be used in the most severe circumstances and should not be substituted for a credible crime strategy.

"We must understand that when you are forced to declare a state of emergency, you are acknowledging a failure of policy. A state of emergency is an extreme measure. For one thing, it takes away the rights of citizens," Phillips argued.

"The crime wave never just drop from the sky; it's not a natural condition. It is not like crime was going down in 2014, but then something just happened and it start rise up again. The reason that we have had this major crime wave is because of bad policies being carried out by the Jamaica Labour Party," Phillips told jubilant supporters.

He noted that while his party is willing to discuss the issue with the Government, a clear plan to disrupt criminal organisations is needed.

"We cannot get ourselves into a situation in the country where we are going to have states of emergency as a permanent condition under which the people of the country are required to live," Phillips warned.