Wed | Dec 1, 2021

MoBay mayor wants another SOE

Published:Monday | April 29, 2019 | 12:24 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Homer Davis
Homer Davis


Montego Bay’s mayor, Homer Davis, has reignited calls for another state of public emergency for the parish of St James, saying that three months after the year-old measure expired, there has been a re-emergence of deep fear among residents.

“In my interaction with our citizens, I have observed a feeling of fear, a feeling of who is next,” Davis said on Saturday evening at the inaugural awards banquet hosted by Bishop Conrod Pitkin, the custos of St James.

The banquet, staged at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, was to honour long-standing justices of the peace in St James, some of whom have spent years trying to help to restore peace in the parish’s toughest communities.

According to Davis, there has been “an alarming” 80 per cent increase in murders since January and up to recently, with just over 50 murders committed since the start of the year compared with about 30 for the similar period last year.


“I continue to express grave concern over the growing rate of crime in St James, and I am of the view that another dose of that medicine is urgently needed,” he declared.

Last December, the Government failed to obtain the numbers in Parliament to extend the state of public emergency beyond January despite its insistence that the security forces wanted more time with the provisions afforded by the measure.

The Opposition, supported by groups such as Jamaicans for Justice, maintained that there were other provisions in law on which the security officials could rely to ferret out criminals without inconveniencing law-abiding citizens.

But on Saturday night, Davis said that the alarming level of murders in St James has become unbearable, and citizens were willing to suffer the consequences under a state of public emergency.

“Citizens said to me they will subject themselves to cordon and searches, curfews, roadblocks. Whatever measure is employed by our security forces, they will endure the long traffic lines in order to be checked instead of being held hostage in their communities by these criminals, whose only intention is to create death, destruction, and mayhem,” said Davis.

However, the mayor said that the security measure is not the ultimate solution to St James’ crime problem.

“The state of emergency is not a silver bullet, but we have seen the result during 2018. I know that it would help to bring some sense of peace and tranquility to our parish.”

He also said that while the parish bleeds, there has been a major decline in social activities as the police have been curtailing permits for entertainment events in some areas, causing investors to lose money.