Mon | Nov 20, 2017

PM gives Mount Salem ZOSO ‘B plus’ grade

Published:Thursday | October 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) addresses a press briefing at Jamaica House on Tuesday, where he declared Denham Town the second zone of special operations. Others (from left) are Minister of National Security Robert Montague, and Commissioner of Police George Quallo.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has given the Mount Salem zone of special operations (ZOSO) a 'B-plus' grade.

He said that while there were initial challenges, most of these have been worked out and "would in no way undermine the validity of the selection of the zone".

"We acknowledge up front that there were some challenges in the first instance, like there would be in the implementation of any new piece of legislation or any such strategy that requires not just the police and the military to coordinate, but a whole-of-government coordination," he noted.

"From an operational perspective, the (zone) would get a B-plus in terms of operation."

The prime minister was addressing a press conference at Jamaica House on Tuesday, where he declared the Denham Town community in Kingston as the second ZOSO.

Mount Salem in St James was declared the first ZOSO on September 1.

Holness said that the security forces should be commended, noting that they displayed a tremendous level of professionalism.

"It is actually a confidence-building exercise that we can deploy. We can put in place strategic security operations without collateral damage or abusing citizens' rights," he pointed out.

The Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act was passed earlier this year in the Houses of Parliament.

It seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social-intervention initiatives.

The law gives the prime minister power to declare an area a ZOSO in order to tackle increased crime and volatility in a community. This is in consultation with the National Security Council.

The zone can only be established after the police commissioner and the chief of defence staff make a request for such a declaration, in writing, to the prime minister.