Wed | May 22, 2019

Public defender under fire for wanting to end SOE in St James

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

The Police High Command has said that the "greatest area of concern being aired by citizens is the premature ending" of the state of public emergency in St James.

Reacting to a recent call by Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry for the ending of the state of emergency, the Police High Command asserted that the "measure has proven to be effective and has saved at least 54 lives since its inception".

In a press statement yesterday, the police said this was the safest citizens have felt in years. "There is steady rebuilding of public trust towards the police across several communities in St James, and the fear of crime, while not totally removed, has greatly subsided," the police reported.

In comments to The Gleaner published yesterday, the public defender stated, "I believe the state of public emergency ought to come rapidly to an end ... . It can't enhance good relationships between citizens and the security forces."

But the police claimed yesterday that the operations under the state of public emergency "protect the human rights of the people and this has been achieved within the constraints of what the operational limitations are".

They said further that this has been done through the training of security forces, the responsiveness of the High Command to complaints, and through open dialogue between the High Command, the public defender and other human-rights groups.