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PNP to JLP: Backup state of emergency claim

Published: Thursday December 19, 2013 | 5:42 pm Comments 0

The People’s National Party (PNP) has branded as blatant opportunism, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) criticism of the Government’s response to the recent spate of crime and violence across Jamaica.

The PNP response follows a suggestion by Opposition leader Andrew Holness yesterday that the government is now reaping the consequences for not supporting an extension of the 2010 state of emergency.

Following a tour of several communities in St James yesterday, the Opposition Leader suggested that the PNP's refusal to support the state of emergency has played a key role in allowing gangs to regroup and crime to flourish across the island.

The state of emergency was called for one month on May 23 as the security forces sought to execute an arrest warrant on then fugitive, Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

It was extended to July 23 and expanded beyond Kingston and St Andrew to include St Catherine.

However, when the then Bruce Golding administration attempted to have a further 30-day extension, it did not get the support of the Portia Simpson Miller-led Opposition and rejected a proposal for a 15-day extension instead.

Holness says this refusal has allowed gang activity to escalate.

However the PNP is now claiming that if the JLP did not attempt to block the extradition of Coke, there would not have been a need for a state of emergency.

The party says the unwarranted delays cemented a view in the criminal underworld that they were beyond the reach of the law.

It says this escalated into the unnecessary loss of lives and significant costs to execute the warrant.

The PNP says while it supported the initial extension of the state of emergency, there was no justification for a second as Coke had been captured.

The party claims the Golding administration’s request for an extension was not supported by the wider civil society and there was no further need to suppress the rights of Jamaicans.

And it says for the JLP to suggest that refusal of the 30-day extension has led to what is happening now is ridiculous.

The PNP says if Holness has information to support his claim, he must provide it to the security forces and become a part of the real solution.

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