House grants three-month extension for St James State of Emergency
Brian Walker, Parliamentary Reporter
The House of Representatives has approved a resolution for the State of Emergency in St James to be extended for an additional 90 days until the end of October .
It's the second time the House is granting an extension.
Without today's extension, the measure would have come to an end on August 2.
On Tuesday afternoon, all 52 members who were present voted in favour of extending the state of emergency.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness disclosed that between January 1 and July 7, there have been 51 murders, that's a 67 per cent decrease compared to the similar period last year.
The state of emergency was first declared on January 18 prompted by 336 murders and 255 shootings in St James last year.
"The argument is that it’s only for St James, that the State of Emergency has been effective, but if you look, you will see that at the point of the declaration of the State of Emergency ... the average daily murders have fallen from 4.65 to 3.44, nationally. So it is cumulative,” Holness said.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips argued that there needs to be a comprehensive analysis of the factors that have contributed to the decline in murders, in a push to craft long-term strategies.
He is also troubled by what he described as “blanket interdiction” by the security forces in the state of emergency, which has led to to the detention of 2,729 people up to June 30.
However, only 20 gang leaders have been charged.