Thu | Dec 5, 2019

House votes to extend St James state of emergency

Published:Wednesday | May 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Portland Western MP Daryl Vaz (right) shakes hands with St Ann North West MP Dr Dayton Campbell in Parliament yesterday moments after apologising for unparliamentary comments he (Vaz) made towards Campbell in Gordon House last week. Later, after a marathon debate, the members of the House of Representatives voted in favour of an extension, until August 2, of the ongoing state of emergency in St James.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the fear of crime among St James residents has been reduced during the state of emergency, which the House of Representatives approved yesterday for an extension until August 2.

The 53 members who were present voted in favour, after the debate ended close to 9 p.m. The other 10 were absent.

Holness disclosed that between January 1 and April 30, there were 62 fewer murders than in the corresponding period last year. The most recent data show 133 persons have been arrested and charged, with 22 for murder, under the SOE.

But Dr Peter Phillips, leader of the Opposition, noted that arrests were being done arbitrarily. "The data that I have say that until the third week of April, 1,939 persons were detained. One hundred and seventeen charged for major offences, including shooting and murder, but that is six per cent of the total number of people detained end up being charged."

The resolution for an extension will be debated in the Senate today.

brian.walker@gleanerjm.com