Tue | Apr 24, 2018

State of emergency regulations to be debated today

Published:Tuesday | January 23, 2018 | 11:19 AM

The regulations governing the state of public emergency which was declared in St James last Thursday by prime minister Andrew Holness are expected to be tabled in Parliament today with lawmakers gearing up for a lively debate on the latest developments to tackle the escalating murder rate in the parish and by extension the country.

Lawmakers will receive copies of the regulations setting out in detail the powers given to members of the security forces as they target criminals and their facilitators in St James which recorded a record 335 murders last year.

The parliamentary opposition has signalled their qualified support for the state of public emergency in St James, but indicated that they could not give their full support until they comb through the extensive regulations.

Statements will be made by Holness, his Minister of National Security Robert Montague as well as Justice Minister Delroy Chuck.

Today’s sitting is the first since the start of the new calendar year and the Government will be seeking to complete debate on at least two critical pieces of legislation before the Estimates of Expenditure are tabled in mid February.

Debate on legislation to establish an agency of government to be known as the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency to investigate and prosecute serious crimes started late last year and is expected to be completed shortly.

At the same time, Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry had said earlier that a new bill on the Road Traffic Act would be tabled early this year.