St James needs SOE return
THE EDITOR, Sir:
It is time for the Government of Jamaica to reinstate the state of public emergency (SOE) in St James. The Government (including the Opposition) has a foundational duty of care to protect citizens from violence. Prior to the Opposition’s vote against the continuation of the most recent extension of the state of emergency, our security intelligence and citizens pleaded for more time to set the parish straight. Unfortunately, those pleas were rejected.
Now we see a marked increase in killings, with criminals behaving as a law unto themselves, even with the heavy presence of security forces. The truth is, ordinary policing at this time cannot arrest the depravities of crime that my beloved parish is facing. St James is once again bleeding profusely.
Criminals have created a state of paranoia; vendors are pressured into closing shops early out of fear that they may be at the wrong place at the wrong time; residents are forced to be home early out of fear that they may get caught in the crossfire or even robbed. I would rather my rights be abrogated under a security apparatus by the State, instead of the possibilities of losing my life to a faceless monster.
The last SOE did well to minimise the trust deficit that exists between the police and citizens in the parish. This was a positive inroad for long-term gains. We cannot waste it.
It is time for the Government to reinstate the state of emergency in the interest of our people. I would also like to encourage persons who know about criminal activity, and who witness crimes being committed, to pass on the information to the authorities.
SUJAE H. BOSWELL