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Opposition Leader calls for ZOSO study

Published:Wednesday | June 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has proposed an expert study to examine the effectiveness of the zones of special operations (ZOSOs), which were extended for an additional 60 days in Mount Salem, St James, and Denham Town, Kingston, by the House of Representatives yesterday.

"Constitute an expert body, including your security forces, but including other knowledgeable persons, other expertise to do a study of the performance in the two communities, where we have had them declared thus far. Look at the positives, the negatives, the possible areas of underemphasis," said Phillips.

"This study would help legislators to make more informed decisions when the ZOSO Act is reviewed in the coming months," he argued.

In piloting the resolution to extend the ZOSOs, Prime Minister Andrew Holness argued that residents of Mount Salem have been the biggest supporters of the measure and they have embraced the social intervention programmes, which will continue.

He disclosed, "No one has been killed in Mount Salem. Of course, we know the situation in Denham Town, but since we have scaled up the operations there, peace has reigned and there have been no murders in Denham Town."

Meanwhile, the prime minister charged that the absence of murder and shooting did not mean that there was no intent to commit crimes. Holness added that the Government was concerned with the prevalence of interpersonal conflicts.

"In the Denham Town community, we see many reports coming in of people getting into fights, domestic fights, using knives and stones, and in Mount Salem, less so; but still there are the interpersonal and domestic issues which drive the violence," noted Holness.

This is the fifth extension for the ZOSO in Mount Salem, which took effect on September 1, 2017, and the fourth for Denham Town, which became operational on October 17, 2017.