Westmoreland JPs willing to work in ZOSO but need training - Custos Perrin
While Westmoreland is one of the leading parishes affected by crime and violence in western Jamaica, if a zone of special operations (ZOSO) should be announced there, the local justices of the peace (JP) would be at a loss as to what is required of them in any such operation.
The Reverend Hartley Perrin, custos rotulorum for Westmoreland, told The Gleaner in an interview on Monday that while the members of the parish's Lay Magistrates' Association were willing to serve in a ZOSO, they were currently awaiting the beginning of a training session to be conducted by the Ministry of Justice with JPs from Westmoreland and Hanover.
"The JPs are willing, but there is a level of apprehension because they are not too sure in their minds what it is they would be expected to do during a ZOSO. But we were promised that the Ministry of Justice would conduct training for JPs of Westmoreland and Hanover, and so we have the JPs on hold, waiting for that training to take place," said Perrin.
"Everybody is willing to ensure that they play their part, but we have to know exactly what is our part and how best we can play it."
Westmoreland has recorded the second-highest murder figure in western Jamaica since January, with some 89 homicides being reported in the parish as of August 22.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the first ZOSO two weeks ago in the Mt Salem community in St James, where seven killings have been recorded out of that parish's murder tally of more than 200 since the start of the year. The ZOSO is still ongoing at this time.
The Ministry of Justice is expected to hold a meeting tomorrow at the Royalton White Sands Resort in Montego Bay with JPs from St James and Trelawny, to educate them on their expected functions and responsibilities within ZOSOs.