Thu | Nov 15, 2018

Finally, State of Emergency for St James ... Why it took so long

Published:Thursday | January 18, 2018 | 1:51 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness responding to questions from the media during a press conference at Jamaica House this afternoon - Norman Grindley photo

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has sought to explain why it took so long for the state of public emergency to be declared in the parish of St James.

Since 2016 when the upsurge in violence began in St James, there have been calls for a state of emergency.

READ: Prime Minister declares State of Emergency in St James

However, there was resistance by some sectors including tourism and the government last year instead opted for the Zone of Special Operations in the community of Mount Salem.

Here is the Prime Minister’s explanation:

"The Government has been contemplating this action for some time. This is not an action that can be taken in an arbitrary way. It requires a great deal of planning and it is not just an action for show. It is an action where we have to plan out both the opening and the ending game and that kind of planning takes time but more importantly it takes resources to be behind it and I believe that we are now at the point where the actions are now aligned with resources. But there is one other important alignment. The Government cannot act without public support and as the person in charge of the Government and given the context in which we are calling this state of emergency having gone through one in 2010, we must always be considerate of what happened before, we must make sure that we learn from the errors and that this is not something that is arbitrary. It is not done in an arbitrary way. This is an instrumental, well planned out action. And yes it took some time. Some persons may have felt it should have happened a long time ago, but I am now of the view that this has happened when we have an alignment of all the variables to make this operation successful."

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